Peter Anderson | Mar 2, 2012

The need to keep profits up in an increasingly diverse market is driving more carmakers to produce versatile one-size-fits-all modular platforms, reducing costs and speeding up development.

This week, following similar projects from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Volkswagen, Nissan has introduced its own take on the concept - the Common Module Family, or CMF.

The CMF will lurk beneath the sheet metal of a range of cars that will come on stream from 2013 - likely including the new Invitation hatch.

In simple terms, it's like having standard parts that plug together, like an advanced Automoblox kit for car engineers.

The CMF pieces can be plugged together to create hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs and MPVs, with varying design and packaging features.

Nissan is no stranger to to the concept, having done something similar with the FM platform from 2001 that can be found beneath the Inifniti G35 sedan and coupe, the FX SUV, and the 370Z.

The concept isn't simply the preserve of volume-selling carmakers trying to find savings; Aston Martin has famously built its entire range (the Cygnet excepted) on the Vertical/Horizontal or VH platform, since 2003.

The success of CMF is crucial to Nissan's future: by 2016 it plans to release over 50 new or updated models and almost a hundred new technologies as part of its Power 88 strategy.

We can expect to see the results of the new platform on our roads sometime in 2014.

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