Carmakers all over the world strive to make more with less. All car companies that want to be around in a few years are on some kind of a standardization drive. GM wants to cut its 30 platforms down to 14. Volkswagen wants to get rid of platforms altogether .
Mercedes will halve its vehicle architectures to two by 2015, and will double its number of model variants to 30, Automotive News [sub] reports.
Those 30 model variants will derive from a Mercedes Front Wheel Architecture (MFA) for compact cars (A class and B class) and a Mercedes Rear Wheel Architecture (MRA) for everything above. At the moment, Mercedes has four architectures: rear-, front- , all-wheel drive, and sports cars. (The G-Wagen does not count.) Standardization will shorten development time and will make for more efficient manufacturing. The time needed to make a Benz will sink from 43 hours in 2008 to 30 hours by 2015.