Volkswagen brings the concept of global platform to another level as it brings this summer a modular platform which will be used for sedans, SUVs, microcars, and crossovers for its biggest brands. The move of Volkswagen is the most ambitious so far among automakers who already shae platforms between brands and segments.
Experts foresee that by 2017, the MQB which is used for the Audi A3 will be seen in about four million units annually or about half of the production of Volkswagen. The move will cut the costs, production time and make the firm more adaptable to the trends in the market.
The platform will standardize the positioning of the engine and the distance between the pedal box and the front axle. Depending on the model, the wheelbase, length, and width can adjust with no problem.
The use of the global platform brings a ton of advantage but also brings a ton of risks. The concept is basically untested and might be a big liability in case there will be a need for a massive recall. Come 2017, the MQB will be used in 40 models under the brands Audi, Seat, Skoda, and Volkswagen. The VW Golf and the Audi A3 are the first units to use the platform and will go in sale this year in Europe and in the U.S. by next year.
Car manufacturers are looking for ways to decrease their cost of production and also boost the profits as they widen their market globally and Volkswagen had to come up with a bold move looking at the scale of its line up of 200 models.
The MQB platform started taking shape in 2007 as Ulrich Hackenberg became a board member of the R&D of VW after having developed a modular base for Audi.
There are two more global platforms in place, the MSB which is used for sports cars with rear engines and the MLB which is utilized for bigger units that have longitudinally mounted powerplants.
VW is the second highest ranking carmaker in terms of sales following GM. Experts forecast that VW will be selling around 4 million vehicles using the MQB platform by 2017.