What’s up guys. Chassis engineering is almost always the most costly part of developing a car. The reason is simple; modern car platforms need to be inexpensive to build, strong, safe, light, modular, and easily adaptable for multiple engines, drive trains and suspension configurations. Not exactly simple stuff! To make something like this, it often takes years of development and billions of dollars. For most car makers, sharing platforms is a logical way to reduce costs, but occasionally it does result in some strange chassis combinations. Lets get started.
1. VW Touran and Audi TT
Volkswagen has four major passenger car brands in its group, Seat, Audi, Volkswagen and Skoda. The intention from the start was that many of them should share platforms, which has payed off as a very wise business decision. Volkswagen tries hard to distinguish the differences between their brands but to be honest, sometimes its hard to justify the significant price differences, like the Skoda Octavia vs the Volkswagen Golf for example.
Having said that, I bet you wouldn’t guess that the Volkswagen Touran (a minivan) shares the same underpinnings as the Audi TT? Yes, both cars are based on the same MQB platform, which is used throughout the model range on all VW brands. Of course, the suspension setup is different and basically every other part has been changed, but next time you see an Audi TT and think how cool it is, think of your neighbor`s Volkswagen Touran.
2. Jeep Compass and Mitsubishi Lancer
The Chrysler Corporation has had close ties with Mitsubishi since the late `70s and ever since, the two industry giants have worked together on numerous projects and even sold a few of the same cars under the Mitsubishi or Chrysler/Dodge name. However, it’s kind of surprising that the Jeep Compass and Mitsubishi Lancer share the same chassis.
Back in the early 2000s, the two companies co-developed the GS platform, which was used on many cars, even by Citroen and Proton. Mitsubishi used it for several models, mainly for the Lancer and Lancer Evolution but Chrysler used it mostly for their SUV and minivan range. One of their most popular models on this platform is the Jeep Compass, available with all-wheel-drive. Saying that, it makes a little more sense but still, who would have thought that the first-generation Jeep Compass and Lancer Evo have so much in common!
3. Nissan Juke and Dacia Sandero
A seemingly very unlikely combination of floorplans is between Japans compact, life-style model, the Juke and James May’s favorite bargain basement Romanian car, the Sandero.
Thanks to the Renault/Nissan partnership, the Juke and Sandero (built from mainly old Renault Clio bits) share the same Nissan B platform. The only difference is that the Sandero has a slightly longer wheelbase, but the chassis architecture is the same. Nissan and Renault formed an alliance back in 1999 which opened the doors for technology sharing, and mostly, it worked well for the companies. Renault owns Dacia as their economy brand, so essentially the old Renault parts that have already been researched and paid for end up going into new Dacias, at a much reduced price of course!
4. Volkswagen Phaeton and Bentley Continental GT
Most of us will remember the Volkswagen Phaeton, or at least have heard about it. It’s a super luxurious German sedan with a Volkswagen badge on the grille, sort of designed to go up against the Mercedes S-Class, but also to show off the brands prowess. Volkswagen invested an enormous amount of money into its production, but eventually, the Phaeton proved to be a flop with disappointing sales. The world simply wasn’t ready for an upmarket sedan from such a normal brand, something that’s been attempted since with cars like the Hyundai Equus.
The company was so keen on ensuring it was excellent, that they created a unique new platform called the D1; not even the Audi A8 was good enough for it. The Phaeton may not have worked out but the D1 spawned cars like the Bentley Continental GT and Bentley Flying Spur, which were sales successes. If you want all that tech and power on a budget, consider a Phaeton, but ultimately for most, its still “just a Volkswagen”.
5. Cadillac ATS and Chevrolet Camaro
One of the best American platforms currently in production is GM`s Alpha platform. It is the product of years of development, designed as a basis for both compact and mid-size models, either with front engine and all-wheel drive or alternatively just rear wheel drive. The interesting thing about the Alpha platform is that its made from high strength steel but still remains relatively light. Although the cars are quite different in character, the Cadillac being is more relaxed and the Camaro being much more muscle car esqe, it does make sense.
So, there you are. Which cars did I miss? Let me know in the comments below.