SAN FRANCISCO -- Vehicles based on General Motors' new Kappa platform could add 200,000 units of production at GM's underused Wilmington, Del., plant, a top executive said.
The small, rear-drive platform - the architecture for the Pontiac Solstice roadster - also will be expanded to cover a wide range of products built for global markets.
All of GM's global brands could have variants from the platform, said Mark Hogan, GM group vice president for advanced vehicle development, in an interview here.
"We don't want to limit Kappa to the three brands," Hogan said, referring to the Solstice and to the Saturn Curve and Chevrolet Nomad concept cars that debuted at the Detroit auto show last month. "I think all our brands have a shot. But we showed those three brands for a reason."
Hogan would not confirm plans to build the Curve and Nomad, but he said he believes there is a market for the retro-styled Nomad station wagon. The Solstice will arrive in the 2006 model year, with a projected price of $20,000. The two-seater will be built in Wilmington, which produces only the slow-selling Saturn L series.
GM says it designed Kappa to be profitable with the expected 20,000 units Solstice will provide. But Hogan said the Wilmington plant has room for other "low-volume and medium-high volume vehicles."
Hogan said Kappa products could reach 200,000 units at the plant. Wilmington can build 268,000 units.
"The small, rear-drive proportions give us design freedom for creativity," he said. "It also makes for great ride and handling characteristics. It will breed vehicles with different brand character."