GM's new compact front-wheel-drive platform created to replace the Delta platform is longer with a longer wheelbase than its predecessor. This will give allow it to underpin at least eight new models in a range of segments and markets around the world. Compare that to the current Delta platform, which sits under just six models (including the current Cobalt and coming Astra), all of them small or mid-sized vehicles.

The as-yet-unnamed platform is expected by 2012 to be produced in volumes exceeding one million units per year. It will form the basis for small, economy models to be sold in emerging markets for under $10,000, as well as luxury models sold in Europe for $40,000, and everything in between. The extra length will also allow it to underpin a small Chevy minivan or CUV, as well as a 7-passenger SUV replacement for the Opel Zafira. Other variants include the next-gen Saturn Astra in 2009 or 2010, a South-Korean-market Daewoo, a European Chevrolet, a China-market Buick, the Chevy Volt, and a potential Saab model.

The new platform will also allow GM to exploit the economies of scale that it can't do now with the Delta, because region-specific engineering has often made the platform unusable in some markets. The new platform "will be identical across the globe," and the same suppliers will be used in many cases, hopefully allowing GM to take real advantage of the global platform its been working on for some time now. In the mean time, the Cobalt is expected to ditch the Delta platform in favor of the also front-wheel-drive Gamma platform, and the Pontiac G5 will be put on the Alpha rear-wheel-drive platform, all according to Automotive News. Mmm... a RWD Pontiac G5 would almost make up for the current model.

[Source: Auto News, sub. req'd]