The shift toward smaller cars and SUVs in the U.S. is getting under way, with nearly daily announcements of product reconfigurations, lay offs, plant idlings and other action designed to cut losses and adjust to the new fuel price-drive landscape of the auto market. General Motors has already announced a major restructuring, several new compact models and a renewed focus on its hybrid technology, but it's not stopping there. GM's previously all-important SUV lineup will likely shift from their current large stature to a new, smaller platform known as Lambda.

Currently GM's big SUVs are built on the GMT900 architecture, with the Tahoe and GMC Yukon being two of the prime examples of the size and style. Next-generation SUVs, even the largest in the lineup, won't be so big, however. The Lambda platform is expected to take over duty as the new SUV architecture, with the move causing GM to delay the redesign of its SUV line indefinitely, or at least until the company has a clearer idea of the direction it should take, reports Automotive News. The SUV lineup had been due for a refresh in 2012.

GM is quick to state that it is not abandoning the full-size segment, at least not yet. Even if the market for such vehicles shrinks considerably, GM still has plans to be in it. Such a small market would find tough competition from the luxury makers, however, since small volumes are not conducive to low prices, and companies like Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Audi already have large premium SUV entries with strong reputations.

There may be the beginnings of a plan of attack on the newly downsized large SUV market, however, in the statements of GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson.

"We've got the most fuel-efficient vehicles in the segment, and we don't intend on giving that up to anybody," he said. "We're not giving up on the full-size truck market. We have every intention of leading it in the future, even if it's a smaller-sized market than it is today."