The MQB technology underpinning the next A3, Golf and Leon could be sold to recoup £50bn investment
Jim Holder
26 March 2012

The VolkswagenGroup’s radical MQB platform, which will underpin the next Audi A3, VW Golf and Seat Leon, among other cars, could be sold to third parties in the medium to long term.

The MQB platform has been designed to be so flexible that it can be used to underpin everything from a Polo-sized car to a Passat-sized one, offering the company massive cost savings. It also means that the VW Group can build any cars on the platform on the same production line, which offers significantly greater production flexibility.

Speaking at the VW Group profits announcement, where it was revealed that the company made £9.4bn in 2011, up more than 50 per cent year on year, Michael Macht, the board member in charge of group production, said: “The next two to three years are exciting for us, and during this time we intend to keep the technology to ourselves. We do not wish to share our excellence.

“But in the medium to long term we could sell the technology. We would have to look at the opportunities and evaluate whether they made sense.”

It is estimated that the VW Group plans to build more than six million cars on the platform across its VW, Audi, seat and Skoda brands by 2018. VW Group chief Martin Winterkorn, who was given a £14.2 million bonus on the back of the company’s success last year, said the investment in the MQB structure would begin to pay off from 2014. Winterkorn estimates that the VW Group has invested around £50 billion over four years in developing and implementing the MQB platform.

“The new Golf will be a quantum leap better than the car it replaces,” he said. “We have invested heavily in this technology, but we are convinced the benefits will be clear for the company. Creating the MQB platform and preparing the factories to produce it requires expenditure in 2012 and 2013, but after that the payback should start to come.”

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26 March 2012

MQB platform required years of development and a lot of money but the results are very significant. Every aspect from torsional performances to constraints to designers work has been taken in consideration. With so high expected volumes the investments in tooling alone are heavy but they will ensure slow parts cost in the next years as well as reassuring qualitative results.

26 March 2012

This just shows that VAG are on another planet from most manufacturers. To have the resources to spend £50 BILLION (are we sure that's not a typo?) in four years on one platform (albeit a very important platform) is a game that no-one else in the industry can play.

26 March 2012

[quote disco.stu]To have the resources to spend £50 BILLION (are we sure that's not a typo?) in four years on one platform [/quote]

I am sure that the quote of £50 billion is wrong. That sum is greater than five times last years record gross profits. Or about the same as the USA spent building and fitting out its 11 operational nuclear aircraft carriers.

26 March 2012

Seem to remember that designing and engineering the original Morgan Plus 8 cost £13,000, and everyone thought that was a lot too.

26 March 2012

Peter Wheeler of TVR used to boast Porsche spent as much on designing and testing a door handle as TVR spent designing an entire car. Readers will recall TVR cars did without door handles.

26 March 2012

In 2011 VW spent 7.2 billions of euro in R&D. £50bn in four years seem a lot but if you put in all the costs of new assembly plants, tooling purchases, testing, dedicated manpower, it could be credible, in 2011 the interest-bearing portion of debt grew from 19.8 to 20.8 euro billions, they are investing a lot.

26 March 2012

Im staggered by the size of the investment . Surely there must be an element of recycling in the tooling . ie you fit the presses with new dies and the robots are reprogrammed to carry out different operations .

So is the platform aluminium or high grade steel or a combination of both .

Actually the more I think about it the more complicated this must be . Do you close down a production line to make the new platform or is a complete fresh start necessary .ie new line in a new building . Are the platforms produced at one central location and then shipped to other plants or is the whole process done at each site .

Fascinating in its own way .

£50billion is a shed load of money whichever way you look at it .

26 March 2012

[quote Old Toad]Fascinating in its own way . [/quote]

Huge profits makes huge investments in R&D, and the circle is closed.

After they decide to sell this platform to others in 3-4 years, the world will drive on VAG's platforms.

[quote Old Toad]£50billion is a shed load of money whichever way you look at it .[/quote]

Maybe good for one way mission to Mars.

26 March 2012

[quote Michael Macht] “The new Golf will be a quantum leap better than the car it replaces” [/quote]

So there's no point in anybody buying one now - wait for the next one!

26 March 2012

[quote Old Toad]

So is the platform aluminium or high grade steel or a combination of both .

Actually the more I think about it the more complicated this must be . Do you close down a production line to make the new platform or is a complete fresh start necessary .ie new line in a new building . Are the platforms produced at one central location and then shipped to other plants or is the whole process done at each site .

Fascinating in its own way .

[/quote]

The assembly line systems are generally made by various suppliers, once the parts are all tested in house and completed they assemble it in a very fast way, especially if it has to be in the same place of the previous one, often working 24 hours a day.

The platform is mainly made by high grade steels, aluminum is present in the suspension struts and in some panels.

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