Where's your car's platform from?

Americans have gone from drinking a plain cup of coffee in the morning to expecting espresso or cappuccino. And our cars are becoming more European, too.

Calum MacRae, an automotive specialist at PwC Autofacts, recently tossed out some figures at a Society of Automotive Analysts meeting on the percentage of the platforms produced in North America that were designed in Europe.

The number rose to just under 20 percent in 2010, from less than 10 percent in 2000. He predicts it will jump to more than 35 percent by 2015.

For years, a large portion of the vehicles built here have been made on platforms developed in Asia: Think every vehicle built in North America by a Japanese or Korean automaker. But one reason we're becoming more European is the need to meet tougher fuel-economy rules.

In that area, European platforms have been engineered to meet much stricter rules than American and Japanese platforms.

Looking at the regulations, whether measured in terms of grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer traveled (CO2/km) or mpg, Japan's 2015 regulations are tougher than the United States' 2016 corporate average fuel economy rules, MacRae said, but less tough than Europe's 2012 rules -- not to mention even tougher European rules that will kick in for 2020.

So order another latte. We'll be seeing even more European engineering here at the American CAFE.

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