General Motors Corp. plans to introduce a new rear-wheel drive vehicle platform that will spawn a new generation of cars and crossover vehicles produced in North and South America, Europe and Asia, according to the Detroit News
After moving away from rear-wheel drive cars starting in the 1970s to reduce weight and boost fuel economy, GM and other automakers are racing to reintroduce rear-wheel drive as a way to enhance performance, attract enthusiasts
and boost owner loyalty. Advances in technology -- such as traction control, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control -- are allowing automakers to rediscover rear-wheel drive and overcome prior drawbacks, such as sloppy handling on ice and snow and mediocre fuel economy, the News
"We'll see a real convergence in our passenger cars and crossovers and car-based utilities -- giving them a more global flavor," GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said, according to the News
. "Once the architecture is situated
everywhere, any member of that family of vehicles could be built anywhere."
GM hopes to accelerate its product development efforts and lower costs by producing more unique models for individual markets, while sharing more parts and components around the world, according to the News
reported that DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group is also planning a new series of large rear-wheel drive sedans and wagons that will go on sale next year.