Leveraging synergies to increase efficiency
For new vehicle projects, the individual brands of the Volkswagen Group have access to “modular toolkits”. These ensure that the synergy effects that exist both between models in one series and across all series and brands can be optimized and increased at the same time. Leveraging them allows vehicles for both existing and still to be developed markets to be planned more efficiently.
The Modular Longitudinal Toolkit (MLB), which was primarily developed by the Audi brand, and its evolutionary step MLB evo are the basis for vehicles whose engine is mounted longitudinally to the direction of travel. We are pushing forward with MLB development in particular with a view to topics such as lightweight construction and electrification. At Audi, vehicles based on the MLB have already been rolling off the production line since 2007. By employing the Modular Transverse Toolkit (MQB), the Volkswagen Group has made a quantum leap in the enhancement of the cross-brand platform and modular strategy in 2012. The MQB allows vehicles to be designed whose architecture permits a transverse arrangement of the engine components. This enables us to produce vehicles with differing lengths, widths and wheelbases, and thus to meet growing customer wishes for a variety of models, equipment features and design. At the same time, the MQB reduces the complexity, unit costs and time required for development. We take advantage of the savings gained to further improve our vehicles’ equipment features, among other things. In spring 2012, the first vehicle to be based on the MQB – the Audi A3 – was introduced to the market. The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand’s most important model – the new Golf – followed over the course of the year. In the future, the MQB will form the technical foundation for a large number of models under the Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, SEAT and ŠKODA brands. This means that innovations in the areas of infotainment and driver assistance systems, for example, will be widely available.
Under the leadership of the Porsche brand, the Group is taking the next step in the enhancement of this strategy with the Modular Standard Toolkit (MSB). The MSB is the basis for vehicles whose engine is installed in a longitudinal direction and that feature rear-wheel drive in the base version.
We are also systematically transferring this modular concept to other areas of automotive production. The Modular Infotainment System (MIB) provides a variable hardware platform across brands and vehicle classes for a wide variety of infotainment features and individual designs. The Modular Diesel System (MDB), which forms the basis for our new, efficient and dynamic generation of three- and four-cylinder diesel engines, debuted in 2012 in the new Audi A3.
Pooling strengths with strategic alliances
Volkswagen continued the existing cooperation arrangement with Daimler AG in fiscal year 2012.
We are systematically pressing ahead with the further research and development of high-voltage battery systems for plug-in hybrid drives and electric vehicles, while entering into alliances with expert battery manufacturers; we intensified these in 2012. VOLKSWAGEN VARTA Microbattery Forschungsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, which we established in 2010 with our partner VARTA Microbattery GmbH in Ellwangen, ramped up its activities and started seeing very positive results in the reporting period. It aims to research and develop battery cells suitable for cars as well as the associated production technology. We are expanding our expertise in the field of electric traction by cooperating with a large number of universities.