Northstar Motor Group blogs about cars
New and Demo Volkswagen : Northstar VW
VW has a one-size platform plan
by Bob Aldons - Northstar Volkswagen Brisbane
Neil Dowling of the Sunday Times outlines the new strategy from Volkswagen for their flexible platform.
Announced at the Geneva Motor Show, the group outlines the one size fits all platform that will potentially enable the German automotive giant to continue to roll out new models across their portfolio (Audi, Seat, Skoda, VW) and maintain or even reduce prices to customers.
There's no doubt that part of the sales surge in Australia can be attributed to the price range on the premium brand models. Customers are realizing that they can actually buy European technology for about the same prices as Korean or Japanese makes
Northstar VW has seen the same response - more and more customers enquiring and buying the brand, trading in Toyota, Mazda and Mitsubishi vehicles.
By Neil Dowling - The Sunday Times
The MQB concept is part of Volkswagen's grand plan to become the world's biggest car maker.
Geneva Motor Show 2012
Volkswagen plans a radical one-size-fits-all flexible platform scheme that will save buyers money.
The German group is promising massive cost savings and a rush of new car models with a "one size fits all'' platform
But the secret also lies in the ability for the platform to be used by cars from some of Volkswagen Group's subsidiaries - Audi, Skoda and Seat - which in the first year alone involves a huge 3.5 million cars. Volkswagen's executive vice president and the architect of the flexible concept known as MQB, Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, says by 2018, all cars in the group will be built on the same lines.
"The rollout starts with the Audi A3 (now in production), then the Golf, Seat Leon and Skoda Octavia,'' he says. "When you buy all similar components and apply them to 40-plus car models, you can save about 20 per cent on material costs alone.
"Then there will be savings on the time it takes to make the cars.''
The MQB (the acronym is German and stands for a modular chassis) concept is part of Volkswagen's grand plan to become the world's biggest car maker by 2018.
But it's not the only tool in the shed to realise that goal. Dr Hackenberg says Volkswagen is ready to release a new family of petrol engines that expand on the current engine range yet are built to similar specifications. "There will be two new engine families for petrol - one for capacities up to 1.6 litres in three and four-cylinder layouts for Volkswagen products, and the second the 1.8 to 2.0 litre capacity for Audi,'' he says.
"The family also has diesels, CNG and LPG-fuelled engines, and hybrids, plug-ins and full electric power plants.''
The engines have common fix points to suit the MQB platform. Dr Hackenberg says that allows a three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine as fitted to the new Up model, to be fitted to a Golf. In addition, it means MQB will need no changes to accommodate LPG tanks, batteries for an electric vehicle and facilities for hybrids.
Dr Hackenberg says MQB allows flexibility in the platform's width, height (by allowing different seat heights), length (including overhangs) and wheelbase. "The Audi A3 will be the smallest in the A-version of the platform with a wheelbase of 2530mm,'' he says.
"Wheelbases then go up in steps of 50mm. We have one platform that is cut to length.''
In addition to the A-version, Volkswagen makes a 0-version for smaller cars and will make a C-version for cars such as the Octavia and Passat. All have the capacity to accept front-wheel or all-wheel drive systems which immediately expands Volkswagen's ability to quickly make alternative vehicles - such as a small SUV or a coupe - off the same platform.
Mr Hackenberg says even the Porsche Panamera will get another version of the MQB concept.