Launched with a huge fanfare in 2011, Volkswagen’s MQB vehicle architecture has become as close to a household name as any automotive platform could ever hope to be.
However, six years on, progress has not been as straightforward as VW bosses might have liked. Yes, the MQB ‘matrix’ is now the basis of 18 VW Group vehicles, with another 10 or so to come in the medium term, but it has proved a more difficult and costly project than many expected.
The creation of a components set that would be capable of underpinning vehicles from the Polo to the Passat large car (and, latterly, the even bigger US/ China-market VW Atlas SUV) was a huge task. On top of that, MQB powertrains, from petrol and diesel to electric and gas-powered, had to fit into the same structure. It was a monumental programme, occupying thousands of engineers and costing many billions.
Earlier this year, Herbert Diess, the VW brand chief, told a German newspaper the company had made “significant progress” on reducing the cost of the MQB platform. He added that the MQB had “high technical content” and would now be used for the next two generations of vehicles “without major investments”.