Volkswagen is in the process of planning a major change to the way that they engineer their cars of the future. With Toyota firmly in their sites, VW is looking to drastically cut manufacturing and development costs while doubling its global sales.
In order to achieve this lofty goal VW are developing four new architectures that will be made available to all of the brands under the VW umbrella. The major platform of the four will be the new transverse-engine architecture (MQB) that will underpin small, medium and upper medium models. It is possible that this platform will be the basis for more than six million vehicles.
It is hoped the new approach will allow VW to build cars faster, possibly cut development times by up to 12 months and result in a cost reduction of between 25 and 40 percent. Although VW are not giving too much away it is estimated that the new MQB platform could be the replacement for up to 20 small to upper-medium models as well as a number of niche models. The MQB architecture will be the first of its kind to cover three segments (small/medium/upper-medium).
The three other platforms being developed by VW include the MHB which will be used for VW???s upcoming mini-car range which will include the production version of the up! Concept. There will be a premium mid-engined platform to underpin the likes of future Lamborghini???s and of course the Audi R8. The final platform, known as the MLB is already in existence underpinning the new Audi A4/A5 models ??? it features a longitudinally mounted engine for front-drive and all-wheel-drive formats.
Volkswagen???s global sales in 2006 were 5.7 million and their target for 2018 is 10 million sales across the group, a massive increase and one that they hope the move to the new architectures will help them achieve.
[Sources: Automotive News and MotorAuthority]