An automobile platform can be described as the collaboration of certain components of a vehicle that have
a huge impact on the character and intentions of the vehicle.
To elaborate on this point I will refer to the crossover SUV bodystyle
where the outward design has remained consistent but their platforms has changed from truck-like to car-like and
the ride and handling of these crossovers are now closer to that found in cars.
The common parts that make up an automotive platform but not limited to these parts are
The altering of these components can determine the length of the wheelbase and
track (distance between the left and right wheel) of the vehicle. The location and position of the engine can also be determined
through the automotive platform.
Considering that the automotive platform has a high impact on the intentions of a vehicle, a single platform can be
shared between various vehicles of a marque or an automotive group if the vehicles are expected to look different but have
similar external dimensions, ride quality, handling, off road ability and towing capacity.
Consider the Mercedes Benz E Class and CLS, two cars that look different but have similar dimensions and ride quality.
An automotive platform can also be shared between bodystyles. Whenever a marque announces a coupe or
crossover to be based on a sedan model the new vehicle is usually built on the sedan's platform.
Sharing platforms can reduce the inventory and parts that a manufacturer would have to keep. It also reduces the time and
money that would be required if every new vehicle had to be manufactured using its own platform. Sometimes the existing platform
is used to build the new model of a vehicle.
Although one vehicle may be built on the platform of another vehicle in many cases the platforms does not remain exactly
the same, this is especially true when various bodystyles share a platform with the first platform usually being from a sedan or
if a sport utility vehicle and a pick-up truck share a platform.
When designing the second vehicle the designers starts with the first platform and can alter it to facilitate issues such as
a higher ground clearance for a crossover or a lower ground clearance and a shorter wheelbase
for a coupe.