The Volkswagen Group is planning to overtake Toyota, the world’s biggest car maker, as part of a 10-year plan that will see the majority of new Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat models – possibly even some Porsches, Bentleys, Lamborghinis and Bugattis – adopt one of four mechanical platforms.
The four new model architectures are for compact rear-engined city cars (MHB), small to midsized transverse-engined family cars (MQB), mid-engined sports cars, and larger longitudinal-engined cars (MLB).
According to a report in Automotive News yesterday, those four architectures could allow the VW Group to almost double its volume by 2018, to reduce model development times by up to a year, and to reduce costs by between 25- and 40 per cent. Here’s what’s known about each of them right now.
’MHB’ to underpin smallest models
Volkswagen’s smallest new platform will form the basis of its forthcoming family of rear-engined Up! city cars but, as Autocar has learned, it will also serve underneath a new Seat city car known as the Ros, after the firm's Arosa city car.
There is considerable scope for it also to be used to engineer a bargain basement Skoda model, given the Czech brand’s reputation for value for money. Industry experts will be keeping an eye out for a concept car at one of Europe’s motor shows next year.
As the cheapest of VW’s four platforms, it’s also likely to play an important role in the groups’ expansion into developing markets.