General Motors is finally starting to catch on to a trend that more successful automakers such as Volkswagen, Toyota and Ford have been practicing for several years now, to use a small subset of core platforms for multiple models sold across the globe.  

By 2012, GM is hoping to more than halve its current number of platforms from 30 down to just 14, with everything from its full-size pickups and SUVs to compacts and subcompacts all moving to shared global platforms.

The goal is to have about 90 percent of its global fleet built off shared platforms, up from about a third of its vehicles today.

But it’s not just the number of platforms that will be cut under GM’s new streamlined development plans. Engines, too, will be cut back as the automaker looks to cut costs and development time across its global design centers.

We’ve already started to see this with the Epsilon II platform, which today is found in the Opel Insigia, Buick Regal and LaCrosse, the Saab 9-5 (a legacy of the Swedish brand’s former U.S. ownership), and the upcoming 2013 Chevrolet Malibu and 2013 Cadillac XTS.

Also in the works is a new compact rear-wheel drive platform dubbed Alpha, which will be found under the new 2013 Cadillac ATS range, as well as the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro and possibly even the next-generation CTS.

Speaking of which, we will soon see a range of Cadillac models built in China; as early as next year, in fact. However, these will be strictly for sale in China and neighboring markets.  

[The Detroit News via TheCarConnection]