Synergies increase efficiency
The large number of new vehicle models that we will develop for existing and/or future markets demands a high degree of efficiency in design. This is why the Volkswagen Group’s individual brands make use of modular platforms, which ensure that the synergy effects that exist both between models in one series and across all series can be optimized and increased at the same time.
Following in the heels of the Modular Longitudinal Platform (MLB), which Audi has already used to develop vehicles, the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) signifies the next quantum leap in the extension of the cross-brand platform and modular strategy. This concept can be deployed in vehicles whose architecture permits a transverse arrangement of the engine components. The MQB enables us to meet customers’ expectations for a growing variety of vehicle models, equipment features and design, reducing the complexity, costs incurred and time required for development at the same time. In the coming years, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Audi, SEAT and Škoda brands will develop a wealth of models based on the MQB platform, all of which will feature innovations in the field of infotainment and driver assistance.
The modular approach will be consistently applied in other areas of the vehicle as well. Structured module families that will help enhance efficiency will thus be developed for all components in the powertrain, bodywork/equipment, electrics and chassis areas. For example, infotainment modules enable the low-cost integration of new radio, navigation, or entertainment functions across all brands in the vehicles, thus creating the basis for the democratization of these systems in small vehicle classes. Their implementation will result from the development of the Modular Infotainment System (MIB).
The expansion of the model range and enhancement of the product development process also require new approaches in product data management in addition to a high level of efficiency. This is the reason Volkswagen is developing the central engineering platform “CONNECT” that will form the future core of data management in vehicle development and keep the growing complexity in this area at a manageable level. The new product data management system will add value directly by linking up all of the Group’s brands, from development to production to distribution. Development partners and suppliers can also be integrated in the system, reducing time-consuming data preparation.
Strategic alliances continued
In 2009, we continued our cooperation arrangements with Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Daimler AG and the Chrysler Group on the development and production of automobiles. Last year, Scania entered into a strategic partnership with Chinese bus bodywork manufacturer Higer, on the basis of which the two companies will team up with Scania Touring in China to produce a bus for the global market.
In the area of renewable second-generation biofuels Volkswagen is continuing to work with CHOREN Industries and IOGEN. Volkswagen has held a financial investment in CHOREN Industries since 2007.
In 2009, we stepped up our cooperation with several experienced battery manufacturers and the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the University of Münster to promote the development of battery systems for hybrid drives and electric vehicles.