Volkswagen Planning Shorter Life Cycles, Faster Updates: Report Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Jun, 03 2014 | 15 Comments

You can expect an all-new iPhone every couple of years, with a major hardware and software update in between. Likewise, carmakers will introduce key updates in the middle of a model’s life cycle.

That’s the shape of the modern market: a rapid sequel to every new product. It’s what buyers expect, and it keeps sales ticking over.

But while new or updated iPhones appear yearly, the space between updates and replacements for cars can seem like a lifetime. That’s a point that Volkswagen might soon address.

Speaking with business paper Bloomberg this week, VW US boss Michael Horn said the company will soon shorten the life cycle of its new models to five years, with a major refresh appearing after three.

“Customers want quicker change,” Horn told the paper “We’re working to shorten the life cycle of the products to bring more new features and design elements, in terms of face-lifts, to the market quicker.”

Under its current strategy, Volkswagen generally launches an all-new model every seven years, unveiling styling and mechanical updates after four years.

It is unclear if this new plan would be rolled out across all of the main Volkswagen Group brands, although it could be that platform and technology integration will see a similar strategy applied with Skoda, Seat and even Audi.

The new plan, which must be approved by the company’s board next month, would likely not swing into action before 2017 - one year before the Volkswagen Group expects to achieve 10 million annual sales globally.

Already, the company believes it may even achieve that goal this year, with the first four months of 2014 seeing 3.2 million sales across the group - a six percent increase over the same period in 2014.

The US market could be its biggest hurdle, however. While Volkswagen’s Chinese sales have exploded, sales in the United States fell 10 percent through April.

MORE: Volkswagen News and Reviews

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