Platform sharing is nothing new to the car industry. It allows each manufacturer to spread out its development and tooling costs over several vehicles that are all the same underneath. GM has eight SUVs that are exactly the same underneath. The sheetmetal, interiors, and even wheelbases can be sliced and diced, but everything underneath is common to each of them.
GM’s C1XX platform, better known as C1 underpins eight (so far) GM SUVs. At least one can be found in each division’s offerings. That’s Chevy, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC trucks. It has variations engineered into it so that both wheelbases and even track can vary, besides the obligatory sheetmetal and interior variations.
GM C1 production will exceed 400,000 in 2019
The C1 platform is a crossover base with a transverse-mounted engine. In terms of production numbers, GM sold almost 350,000 C1-based SUVs in the US in 2018. It sold just slightly more in 2017. The Chevy Traverse makes up the lion’s share of those with over 40% in 2018. For 2019 C1 platform product will exceed 400,000 units.
Let’s give a quick rundown of each C1 platform product and some highlights.
Four different SUVs from the same platform
Altogether there are actually four C1 versions, offering versatility to disguise its shared components. The 2017 Cadillac XT5 and GMC Acadia were the first large GM SUVs to utilize C1 and are featuring the first version.
The third in our C1 overview is the most unique. It takes the XT5/Acadia platform but widens the track. The 2019 Chevy Blazer is manufactured from this third C1 version.
For the fourth variant, GM takes the Blazer platform and lengthens it behind the rear axle. This allows for the addition of third-row seating. The new 2020 Cadillac XT6 gets this platform first, followed by the 2021 Blazer XL and “baby” Buick Enclave.
All of the C1 models are manufactured at the Jinqiao Cadillac plant in Shanghai, China; the Spring Hill facility in Tennessee; or Delta Township plant in Michigan. The current Blazer is manufactured in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.
GM will see an increase in C1 platform demand
Currently, the Cadillac XT6, and future Blazer XL and baby Enclave are all exclusive to the Chinese market. China is now the largest market for vehicles in the world, so once all three of these SUVs are launched, C1 platform volume should see a heavy increase in use.
As can be seen, the C1 platform is a huge part of GM. While sharing so many brands, GM kept versatility in mind to avoid the same problems that befell it in the 1980s. Then, shared division cars were almost indistinguishable. This was back when Oldsmobile and Pontiac still existed. It was called out on a Fortune magazine cover showing four different maroon sedans side-by-side. Though from different GM divisions you could not tell them apart.
To avoid those past sins GM has developed a platform that can distinguish each SUV assigned to it. But guess what? There’s another GM platform that underpins even more vehicles. We’ll touch on that another time.