Ford to revive rear-wheel drive in U.S.

Ford Motor Co. is bringing rear-wheel-drive development back to the United States from Australia. The automaker also has green-lighted a vehicle platform that will provide the basis for a new generation of rear-wheel-drive cars, according to sources familiar with Ford's plans.

Australia, where such vehicles remain popular, had emerged as Ford's center for rear-wheel-drive development. But changing economics have convinced the company to bring the program back to Dearborn.

Sources said the new rear-wheel-drive platform will provide the underlying architecture for an all-new Ford Mustang, as well as for new Ford and Lincoln sedans. The same platform will be used for a next-generation Falcon in Australia. Product codes already exist for these cars, but it will still be about four years before they arrive in showrooms.

Ford would not comment on moving the rear-wheel-drive program, but said Australia will continue to play an important role in the company's product development operations.

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