Depending on how the next few months pan out, General Motors and Honda vehicles in the US, Canada and Mexico could be sharing platforms and drivetrains in the not-too-distant future.
Overnight the two automakers announced they have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU), which see them investigate whether to establish a formal alliance in North America.
GM and Honda will immediately begin studying whether they should share platforms, as well as “propulsion systems for a variety of core segments”.
This could see the two firms working together on electrified drivetrains and internal-combustion engines. If all goes well, joint development work could begin as early as early 2021.
According to Honda and GM, jointly developed platforms and powertrains will improve the companies’ economies of scale and lower costs, with savings to be invested in “future mobility trends” and range expansion.
Neither company has gone into detail about which segments and vehicles could benefit from this hook up, but Honda does have a selection of vehicles designed and produced exclusively for North America, such as the Pilot and Passport crossovers, Ridgeline pickup truck, and Odyssey people mover.
It’s unclear whether these jointly-developed platforms and platforms will be available in other markets.
There’s no indication yet whether the potential alliance will see the companies take a financial stake in one another, a move Honda has typically been resistant to.
That said Honda once owned 20 per cent of Austin Rover, and more recently has purchased a US$750 million ($1 billion) stake in Cruise, a GM-controlled firm focused on developing self-driving taxis and autonomous vehicle technology.
Honda and GM first began working together in mid-2013 when they formed a joint venture to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology.
In 2018, Honda committed to investing US$2 billion ($2.8 billion) in GM’s Cruise division by 2030. Earlier this year Honda announced it would use GM’s electric car platform for two new vehicles, which will be built by the General and sold in North America.
GM’s EV platform made its debut underneath the recently revealed Cadillac Lyriq crossover.