General Motors U platform

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The U-platform (or U-body) is a front wheel drive minivan and crossover SUV platform from General Motors produced since 1990. North American sales ended in 2009, but Chinese production continues. The minivans were divided into three generations, 1990–1996, 1997–2005 and 2005-current. The U-body was also used for General Motors' first generation crossovers from 2001-2005.

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ManufacturerGeneral Motors
ProductionNorth America: 1990–2009
China: 2000–present
AssemblyTarrytown, New York (1990–1996)
Doraville, Georgia (1997–2008)
Body and chassis
Crossover SUV
LayoutFF layout/All-Wheel Drive
Body style(s)3-door minivan
4-door minivan
4-door Crossover SUV
SuccessorGM Lambda platform (North America and Middle East)

Keeping with its EPA designation as a light truck, the fifth character in the VIN for a U-body is "U", instead of the fourth, as is standard for cars.


1st GenerationEdit

1994-1996 Chevrolet Lumina
European Pontiac Trans Sport

Released in the fall of 1989 for the 1990 model year, the U platform/GMT199 utilized a galvanized steel space frame underneath composite plastic dent resistant panels similar to those used in Saturn models and the Pontiac Fiero. The vans feature unconventional styling, which some commenters likened to a DustBuster vacuum cleaner.[1]

All models used a 120-hp, 3.1L V6 mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission. In 1992, the 3800 Series I V6 became available with a four speed automatic. Both were replaced by the LA1 3400 V6 in 1996.


The vehicles in this generation included:

In 1994 The Lumina and Trans Sport received a facelift, which shortened the nose and gave them a more conventional look. The Silhouette however did not receive this update.


The Pontiac Trans Sport was sold in Europe as a rebadged Oldsmobile Silhouette with European safety specifications.

European customers had grown accustomed to sleek minivans, thanks to vehicles such as the Renault Espace, and did not object to the Trans Sport's futuristic styling. In 1994, when the Trans Sport was updated, the European version retained the original shape, with the Oldsmobile Silhouette being sold badged as a Pontiac Trans Sport.

The European Trans Sport was also available with two options that were never offered on a North American specification U-body: A four-cylinder engine (the LD2 Quad 4) and a 5-speed manual transmission.

2nd GenerationEdit

Pontiac Trans Sport Montana
Opel Sintra
1996-1997 Vauxhall Sintra

In 1997 the second U-body (platform) minivans arrived,[2] also known as the GMT200.The new minivans were of unibody steel construction and the styling was intentionally conventional to such an extent that contemporary reviewers remarked that without looking closely at the badging and grille treatments, these minivans could be mistaken for their primary competitors, the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager, which at the time commanded a 50% share of the minivan market.[3] Production of this generation was performed at GM's Doraville, Georgia facility, and later at GM Shanghai.

1996–1999 (Europe)Edit


The vehicles in this generation included:



  • The Opel Sintra (badged as the Vauxhall Sintra in the United Kingdom) was an export built in the US alongside other vans for the European market. The Sintra used Opel engines instead of the LA1 3400 V6 engine, that the US vans used.[4]
  • The Buick GL8 is sold by Buick only in China, but was exported to the Philippines as a Chevrolet Venture.
  • The Pontiac Trans Sport of this generation was also sold in Europe, badged as a Chevrolet Trans Sport.

3rd GenerationEdit

2005-2008 Chevrolet Uplander

The U-body was updated once again (GMT-201) in 2005. These vans were referred to as "Crossover Sport Vans" (CSV) by General Motors, in reference to their SUV-inspired styling. North American vans were built in GM's plant in Doraville, Georgia. General Motors stopped minivan sales in the United States as of 2008. The Pontiac Montana and Chevrolet Uplander continued to be sold in Canada and Mexico for 2009. Production of the Buick GL8 continues in Shanghai, China.


The vehicles in this generation include:

4th GenerationEdit

Buick GL8

In 2010, Shanghai GM introduced a new version of the Buick GL8 Luxury Business Edition. The previous generation remains on sale as the Business Edition.

Prior to the car's release, a concept car called the Buick Business was shown at the 2009 Shanghai Auto Show.[5]

Crossover SUVsEdit

2002-2005 Pontiac Aztek

In 2001 General Motors decided to produce its first entry into the Crossover SUV category using a shortened U-body platform.[6]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Michelle Krebs (1996-12-01). "After the Dustbuster, a Clean Sweep". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-18.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ John Beltz Snyder (2009-04-21). "Shanghai 2009: Buick Business MPV Concept". Retrieved 2009-09-18.
  6. ^

External linksEdit

  • [1] Frontal Offset of the '97 minivans.