Call it reverse engineering. Call it ‘benchmarking,’ but everybody does it. Every brand looks at what the other brand is up to, but there are varying degrees of this practice. According to a report General Motors is 3D scanning competitive vehicles and has exact digital models on file.
In a recent report by Ars Technica (a technology news outlet), GM’s Competitive Benchmarking Team brings in competitors cars and 3D scans the parts. The renderings then serve as a reference when developing a new vehicle. It is highly unlikely that GM is using these scans to flat out copy parts, but when you have to play catch-up in a vehicle segment (see: previous-generation Chevy Impala) such references help.
It’s a level of “intelligence gathering” that we would sooner expect out of the Chinese auto market, where copyright law borders on suggestion. But it is also unlikely that GM is the only automaker to engage in such a practice. It would be fascinating to compare this with similar efforts by GM’s competitors.
In the meantime, just consider the advances made across the lineup for GM, and what role this Benchmarking Team may have plated.