General Motors’ RWD Zeta platform was pioneered in Australia for the locally built Holden Commodore sedan but right from the start Detroit had global intentions for the design. Today, Zeta running gear can be found in models sold in China, South Korea, the UK, and in North America - in cars like the new Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac G8, for example - but GM plans to build more cars based on the platform until at least 2020.

There will be one major difference, however. The cars will feature smaller and more fuel-efficient bodies. The first of these new, smaller Zeta cars will be the next-generation Holden Commodore, which engineers in Australia are already working on. The car is due to go on sale in 2013 and according to GoAuto it will be smaller, lighter, and come with a range of new environmentally friendly engines including turbocharged four-cylinders and diesels.

Some other fuel-saving features planned include engine stop-start and direct-injection, as well as existing displacement on demand technology. Engineers will also focus on weight reduction and efficiency improvements, such as more aerodynamic bodies and automatic transmission tweaks. Eventually, there could even be a hybrid version of Zeta but cost-cutting may end up delaying the release of such a model.

Where this leaves development plans for a smaller ‘Alpha’ RWD platform and a premium Cadillac architecture is anyone’s guess, however, given GM’s financial woes it’s unlikely that such an expensive undertaking is high on the company’s priorities.