Looking a bit like a hybrid between the Range Rover Evoque and a Subaru Outback, the VW CrossBlue Coupe Concept is the smaller companion to the larger CrossBlue that debuted at Detroit. The Coupe has a twin-turbo V6 and a plug-in hybrid system making 409 horsepower, but don’t expect that to make it into production. Hopefully the CrossBlue’s diesel engine does carry over to the production version, which is rumored to be the next Tiguan.
Despite a chorus of largely uncritical reporting, there is a growing contingent of those who question VW’s claim that their new MQB modular architecture will bring about significant savings. The latest among them is Bernstein Research. A report by noted analyst Max Warburton (who recently authored the definitive study on Chinese cars) questions VW’s claims and shows how MQB may be helpful, but not nearly as significant as VW claims. On the other hand, it’s worth noting that these reports are meant for end-user investors, not necessarily industry types.
1 million units a year. That’s going to be the minimum volume necessary for car makers to survive, if you believe SEAT boss James Muir. His struggling brand sold just 320,000 cars last year, and their exposure is largely limited to economically ill countries in the sunny areas of Europe.
VW will reward the manual-diesel-wagon brigade with not one but two products set to satiate your Euro lust. In addition to the next generation Golf Variant (aka the Jetta SportWagen), Volkswagen confirmed that the next-gen Golf GTD will make it to our shores as well.
We’ve discussed the importance of scale countless times on this website. La Tribune takes a brief look at Ford, Volkswagen and PSA and the different ways they are working to achieve economies of scale in one of the toughest markets in the auto industry; the C-Segment.
We at TTAC are very excited by modular platforms, and it has nothing to do with undiagnosed autism spectrum disorders or a lack of interest in the wider world outside autos. Modular platforms are the next great leap forward for auto makers; green cars help save cute animals, and thus get all the attention, but guess what underpins the Nissan Leaf? A version of Renault-Nissan’s B Platform, which underpins everything from the Cube to the Clio to the Sandero.
What will the faithful say when the find out that the next Volkswagen Phaeton is based on a
Golf platform Audi platform? Like it or not, that’s the way it’s going to be.
Edit: I mixed up the VW platforms. Turns out it will be the longitudinal version rather than the transverse MQB.
Volkswagen unveiled their most important new platform, dubbed MQB (a German acronym for “Modular Transverse Matrix”). The MQB will underpin everything from the Up! to the next (European) Passat, and all points in between.
“Volkswagen AG will kick off its biggest technology overhaul in almost two decades.”
Bloomberg still has a hard time of coming to grips with the technological revolution. It’s not just that “more than 40 models will use a set of standardized components such as axles, steering columns and chassis,” as Bloomberg puts it. This is not a parts bin exercise. Through the Volkswagen empire, cars don’t just share the same steering columns. They are designed using standardized building blocks of a common kit architecture. (Read More…)
Within the next ten years, the car industry will change more than in the past fifty years. At least at Volkswagen, says Audi Chief Rupert Stadler. Platforms are a thing of the last century. The future of the car industry is kit cars. Or make that cars designed and built using elements of a common kit architecture. Currently, there are two families of erector kits which can be assembled into all kinds of cars at Volkswagen. They have Teutonic names like “Modularer Querbaukasten” (MQB) and “Modularer Längsbaukasten” (MLB). Porsche is developing a “MMB” (Modularer Mittelbaukasten) for Mittelmotor (mid-engined) cars. Or possibly a MSB (Modularer Standardbaukasten), which could be the Mutter of all Baukasten.
Didn’t the Golf MK6 just come out? Well, it appeared in late 2009, and some alleged it wasn’t a full generation, facelift would have been the better term. Maybe that’s why Volkswagen is in a rush to introduce the next generation Golf, the Mk7 “by end of 2012,” reports Automobilwoche [sub]. (Read More…)
Volkswagen will continue its pioneering work testing the boundaries between platform-sharing and brand-engineering, reports Autocar, with a new platform destined to underpin some 60 models globally. The modularen querbaukasten (modular transverse engine, or MQB) architecture will form the basis of models ranging from the sub-Golf Lupo to the Sharan MPV, starting with the next-gen Audi A3 which debuts in Europe in 2011. The key to the platform’s versatility is its adaptiveness to different wheelbases, tracks and wheel sizes. 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 architectur. 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 architecture will allow VW to replace some 18 engine-mounting architectures to a mere two, reportedly providing about 60 to 70 per cent parts commonality between Volkswagen’s biggest-selling models.