Tony O'Kane | Jul 17, 2008

Rising fuel costs and increasingly tougher fuel economy standards are reportedly forcing Ford to reconsider its plans for a future rear-wheel-drive platform. Back in January, Ford CEO Alan Mullaly was bullish about the development of its new RWD architecture that was intended to underpin new Ford and Lincoln models in the US. However recent spikes in the cost of oil and a renewed consumer focus on small, thrifty, front-wheel-drive cars have cast doubt over the future of the RWD project.

As Ford's product chief Derrick Kuzak said recently, the reduction in SUV and large pick-up truck production by the automaker has helped stabilise sales, while the increased uptake of economical small cars by a cost-conscious public has thrown water on the belief that ford would benefit from the introduction of another large-car RWD platform. Clearly, large fuel-hungry cars are no longer as high on the new-car shopper's agenda as they used to be and Ford has been forced to take a second look at the viability of their new RWD architecture.

With Ford in such a financially unstable position, the move to axe potentially unpopular models before they have a chance to bomb in the showrooms would definitely help rein in costs for the beleaguered manufacturer, but does this mean rev-headed Blue Oval fans will no longer be able to pull big, smoky burnouts with Ford's future offerings? The writing isn't on the wall just yet, but with words like "change", "re-evaluate", and "reconsider" being thrown about, RWD-lovin' Ford fans in the US may need to look at jumping ship sooner rather than later.

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