“Volkswagen is on course to bump General Motors into the world no.3 ranking this year,” writes Reuters. That’s not all. Volkswagen “aims to sell a world-leading 10 million vehicles by 2018, up from the 8.36 million recorded last year, and push past Toyota.”
The car that is supposed to lead Volkswagen to world domination is an also-ran in the U.S., but it is one of the world’s most sold cars. It is the Golf, and its seventh generation will be revealed tonight in Berlin at the Neue Nationalgalerie, the Mies van der Rohe designed temple of modern art.
“Success of the new Golf is absolutely critical to VW’s expansion targets but the new version will be battling in a tough environment,” said Stefan Bratzel, head of the Center of Automotive Management think-tank near Cologne, told Reuters.
It is also the first full scale roll-out of the new MQB architecture. This architecture makes the word “platform” obsolete. Instead, is a system of standardized building blocks. Says VW R&D Boss Ulrich Hackenberg:
“It gives us the possibility to produce models from different segments and in varying sizes using the same basic front-end architecture. We can go from a typical hatchback to a saloon, cabriolet and SUV with only detailed changes to the size of the wheel carriers.”
The new technology aims to make production of 3.5 million small- and mid-sized cars 20 percent cheaper, and shorten assembly time by 30 percent. It also can significantly shorten time to market.
|Top 3 World, July Production and Full Year Forecast|
|7M ’12||7M ’11||YoY||Proj ’12|
|Black: Company data. Blue: Projection, based on last available|
|Toyota, GM: Production. VW: Deliveries. Forecast by TTAC|
Whether Volkswagen will bump GM to third place this year is very doubtful. As the results of the seventh lap of the race of the world’s largest automakers show, Volkswagen is far behind leading Toyota and second-placed GM. To bump GM, Volkswagen would have to rev up production a lot, and GM would have to fail big-time in the second half of the year. Also, Volkswagen needs to aim much higher than 10 million by 2018. Toyota is set to reach 10 million this year.