Audi's future vehicles will no longer feature platforms designed and engineered in house
18 October 2016

Audi will no longer design and engineer its own platforms for future vehicles, according to German media reports, as the VW Group embarks on a sweeping cost-saving exercise to pay for huge losses associated with the Dieselgate scandal.

Respected German business magazine Der Spiegel revealed that Audi boss Rupert Stadler has indicated to company staff that "all future investments" at Audi are now "under scrutiny". 

The VW supervisory board is expected to meet on 18 November to rubber stamp spending plans for the Group’s various automotive brands.

As well as suspending plans for a new crash test centre and wind tunnel, Audi may also abandon its home-grown MLB platform, which is used for models from the A4 to the A7 and A8. The mid-engined platform underpinning the R8 super car is also expected to be dropped and it’s not certain that today’s R8 will be replaced. 

As Autocar has already reported, Audi’s involvement with motorsport is also under question. The highly successful LMP1 series looks like it will be officially brought to an end in the near future.

A local German newspaper has also reported that plans for a massive investment in an Apple-style technology campus at Audi’s Ingolstadt HQ have also been cancelled. However, Audi told Autocar that the campus project has been postponed, not cancelled.

Dubbed the INovation-Campus, it would consist of as many as 75 buildings and would be connected to the local motorway network with its own junction. The web pages hosting the plans being developed by architects AS+P have been deleted.

The news comes as the Volkswagen brand operation in Wolfsburg wants to slash 10% of its overall running costs in just one year and improve the efficiency of its plants by 5-8%, removing third and weekend shifts, according to German media reports. Audi has already begun to reduce the number of shifts building its MLB-based models.

It’s thought that the next-generation Audi A4 and A5 models will be sistered with the VW Passat on the transverse-engined MQB platform. The larger Audi models - including the A6 and A7 - are expected to be built on the shortened version of Porsche’s MSB platform, which is currently used for the Panamera. This would mean the future A6 and A7 would be offered as either rear-drive or all-wheel drive.

Autocar contacted Audi for comment on the news. It said “Audi will continue to strictly maintain the features typical of its brand, and will continue fulfilling the specific desires of Audi customers.

"Even when modules are used from other members of the group, an Audi will always be identifiable as an automobile with the Four Rings; that is guaranteed by more than ten thousand employees at our Technical Development division in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm and Györ.”

Currently Audi builds around 770,000 cars based on MLB platforms. However, even those volumes look unsustainable partly because MLB demands unique transmission systems and modified VW group engines. Audi will also be able to reign in its substantial £3.8bn annual research and development budget.

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Comments
19

18 October 2016
Its bad news for the consumer that any part of the VW group is considering slashing its (apparently) industry leading research and development budget. Lack of proper development of engineering solutions in recent years, and subsequent short cuts, is at the heart of the manufacturer's problems. We don't want them to devote even less resources to this area.

18 October 2016
Their R&D was hardly "industry leading" - they couldnt even development basic emissions controls that other manufacturers could, so they cheated. Surely if it was so good they would have sported NOx emissions ?

18 October 2016
typos1 wrote:

Their R&D was hardly "industry leading" - they couldnt even development basic emissions controls that other manufacturers could, so they cheated. Surely if it was so good they would have sported NOx emissions ?

My point exactly, but I was referring to the fact that the VW group have often highlighted how big their R & D budget is by industry standards. Makes you wonder what they spend it all on.

18 October 2016
It seems to me to be financially irresponsible to do anything other than this, given their size and scale and in the light of their self-inflicted problems. Let the market judge them on their decisions.

18 October 2016
It seems (surprisingly) to me that Audi makes very little profit for V.A.G. (Reading between the lines.)

It's a shame because the impression that Audis are badge engineered Volkswagens, generating a large profit solely because of a different badge; that impression has softened latterly and will now be cynically enforced.

18 October 2016
It's actually quite the reverse. Audi and Porsche are the real profit generators in the VW Group, and it seems like VW wants to reap even greater rewards by shelving Audi's expensive in-house platforms in favour of MQB and MSB.

Most customers won't even notice the difference - do you think that A3 buyers care that their car shares its underpinnings with a VW, a Seat and a Skoda? Or that A1 buyers give a flying fig about their car being a glorified Polo?

People will continue to buy Audi products in their droves, and that's exactly what VW is counting on to pull them out of this mess they've created.

18 October 2016
Viscount Biscuit wrote:

It seems (surprisingly) to me that Audi makes very little profit for V.A.G. (Reading between the lines.)

It's a shame because the impression that Audis are badge engineered Volkswagens, generating a large profit solely because of a different badge; that impression has softened latterly and will now be cynically enforced.

What is the profit ratio across the group?

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

18 October 2016
Audi's profit margins hover at around 10%, while the Volkswagen brand struggles to clear 3%. As a whole, the Volkswagen Group has a margin of around 6%.

18 October 2016
haudit wrote:

Audi's profit margins hover at around 10%, while the Volkswagen brand struggles to clear 3%. As a whole, the Volkswagen Group has a margin of around 6%.

And based on the global figures that we are looking at here coupled with the size of the Company, they are the figures you would expect to see. If anything, Audi at 10% shows they are coining it in on the perception of their premium image with honest underpinnings. Trust me, those margin percentages for a global brand, and in the industry they are in, aren't to be sneered at.

18 October 2016
Every Bugatti sold has lost VW money. They've built the world's fastest production car, do they really need to build the next one and continue to throw money away?

I know it's a halo car but aren't Lamborghini, Porsche and Bentley 'halo' enough for the group?

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