Ford’s future involves a reduction in the current number of vehicle platforms it uses across the globe and a rise in the number of common models sold in different markets. The move is part of Alan Mulally's plan to streamline the development process within the Ford Empire in an effort to reduce costs by cutting back on the number of overlapping processes.

Fewer platforms will also mean fewer engines, which at the end of the day means “more investment per vehicle,” Mulally told Automotive News.

The first car to get the global treatment is the next-gen Fiesta compact, which will draw its styling from the new Verve Concept and be sold in Europe, North America and Asia. Following the Verve will be new global versions of the Focus and mid-sized Fusion, the latter to be based on Europe’s Mondeo sedan. Other planned models include a family of new crossovers and compact SUVs based on future updates of current models sold in Europe such as the S-Max and upcoming Kuga crossover.

By 2012, Ford is expected to be utilizing just ten core platforms for 70% of its global lineup. The list will include the B2E B-segment architecture (Mazda2), the current C1 (Mazda3, Volvo S40, Ford Focus) and EUCD (Mondeo, S-Max) platforms and two new RWD platforms being developed in Australia including a small pickup design and a large sedan.

Using information sourced from suppliers, analysts and Ford insiders, Automotive News managed to compile a list of release dates we can expect for important Blue Oval models. Some of the highlights include the new Flex CUV (pictured) in 2009, an updated Mustang in 2010 and an all-new sedan that same year.