GM and Honda Team Up to Build at Least Four Cars Together
Don’t hold your breath for a V8-powered, mid-engine Civic, though.
Cutting development costs and diversifying vehicle lineups via domestic and global partnerships is no new trend in the auto industry. As of today, Ford has Volkswagen as an EV partner, FCA will form Stellantis with the PSA Groupe, and Thursday morning, General Motors and Honda announced plans to link up in North America—once again—and jointly develop future products.
Honda stated in a press release that the two have signed a preliminary, "non-binding memorandum of understanding" to form a business and technical alliance. Should both companies go forward with the proposed partnership, the pair will share vehicle platforms and "propulsion systems," notably internal combustion, electric, and hydrogen fuel cell powertrains.
This expands on an April deal between the duo wherein GM agreed to lend its Ultium EV platform to Honda for two EVs aimed at the North American market, and could signal the introduction of additional GM-based Honda EVs or vice versa.
A GM spokesperson confirmed to The Drive that Ultium will account for one of at least four platforms the two automakers will share, and that powertrains for said platforms will likely match their company of origin.
"GM and Honda expect to be working on more than four vehicle architectures together. Some GM will lead. Honda others," commented GM's Senior Manager of Communications, James Cain, in an email to The Drive. "Expect GM powertrains in GM-led programs and vice versa."
Each automaker says "planning discussions" for this range of vehicles—to be sold under both GM and Honda brands—"will begin immediately, with engineering work beginning in early 2021." Honda statements strongly suggest an effective merger of the two automakers' research and development wings are on the table, and not just to expedite the development of low-carbon powertrains. Collaborative R&D, says Honda, could also be used to advance other fields of automotive technology, specifically Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS), infotainment, and vehicle connectivity.
Some groundwork for integrating each automaker's connected car systems was laid in April, when GM confirmed the pair of Ultium-based Hondas would utilize the latter's HondaLink, rather than its own OnStar. Honda says it "will explore further co-development opportunities for future connected services, including GM's OnStar and infotainment." Consolidation of behind-the-scenes operations such as manufacturing and purchasing was also acknowledged as a possibility, Honda citing significant potential cost savings.
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