Can four platforms decide the future of seven brands? Ask Volkswagen and it probably might agree. Four three-letter abbreviations are responsible for the future of Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Lamborghini, Porsche and Bentley: NSF, MQB, MLB and MSB. Every new car to be launched from now until 2020, and possibly beyond, from these brands would be based on one of these four modular platforms.
So why is Volkswagen thinking of modular platforms? Well, the 60 billion Euro exercise is aimed at reducing the cost of developing, producing and hopefully maintaining cars from these brands. What’s more, the Group can now conjure up the next possible car to fit into a slot that doesn’t currently exist and bring it to the market way quicker than it ever has.
Cars from various brands can now be produced on the same line using the same parts, reducing the need for duplication of both processes and plants, thus bringing down the need for separate plants in several countries. In an industry fraught with overcapacity and changing economic scenarios, it affords Volkswagen Group the flexibility to change its product portfolio for any market for any brand at any point. An MQB-ready plant, for instance, can produce an Audi A3, Volkswagen Jetta and a Skoda Yeti on the same line by the same set of workers without them needing to be re-trained. As part of a Rs 2,000 crore exercise, the VW Group in India will make the necessary changes to its Chakan and Aurangabad plants as well.
All of this is to ensure that the Volkswagen Group becomes and stays the largest auto manufacturer in the world, while it increases its profitability even further. Who knows, it could change the way the entire auto industry functions! Sit tight as we take you through each of the four platforms.
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