Heads Rolling At Volkswagen Over MQB Fumbles
Michael Macht, the man in charge of production at Volkswagen, is leaving immediately, with Automotive News Europe reporting that VW CEO Martin Winterkorn was unhappy with the rollout of VW’s MQB “toolkit” that will underpin everything from B-segment hatchbacks like the Polo to large sedans like the Passat.
According to the outlet, poorly functioning production equipment has led to cost overruns and delays, with overtime adding a significant cost to the rollout. With Macht responsible for overseeing MQB’s introduction – which would ostensibly include new machinery and tooling, manufacturing processes and all the other assorted initiatives required for such a grand undertaking, his departure is understandable. Executives may be handsomely compensated, but when things go wrong, they’re the first to be shown the door.
Let’s see what happens when it’s time for MQB to head to Chattanooga. Or when the first major recall strikes MQB vehicles.
Even when they get shown the door, they still get a financial package that means they can live a life of luxury until the day they die.
This article doesn't provide any details or clarifying information. Any new car launch has issues and delays and cost overruns. MQB is a 20- car launch, so of course there is some teething. And the "let's wait for some recalls" last sentence is even worse reporting. Do you care to share details or is that just a USAToday headline? Like thete were no recalls before MQB. Have there even been MQB recalls yet? I'm not a VW fan, but admire their undertaking. But I'm sure some journalist can fabricate a headline of nothing....
I also called MQB a fail back when that tool, BS, was heralding it as the best thing since sliced bread. I even got banned for it. The simple fact of the matter is that (and I'm speaking as an engineer here) that anytime you have anything this reaching as a platform, the 'back-office' support for it must be equally reaching. Imagine having a common kit of parts and then asking 50 design and engineering teams across 5 different brands to customize it for their needs. Can use this part? Will this cross frame support the front end load? I don't know, I didn't design that part, it's part of the kit! What if I want to change some thing? Do I have to ask a dedicated change control group? Someone has to be limiting variation to keep the kit concept pure. What if a component in the kit is bad? Who goes around and asks all the design groups if updating a part in the kid messes with their designs? Who pays for the changes? It must take MONTHS of agonizing and thousands of overhead derived R&D manhours to drag each product design forward kicking and screaming against a system explicitly designed to prevent originality and change. worst design decision ever. More heads should roll. and fast.
I was always dubious about this rather overhyped concept. Suppose we design a suspension arm for a 1.6 ton car, and then try and use it for an 800kg economy car, where weight is critical. Obviously it will be too strong, and an easy weight and cost saving will be to redesign it for the 800kg car. Now apply the same thought process to every part of the car. Basically, there may be some parts that can be commonised, but this idea of an overarching kit seems doomed to produce expensive, heavy, if more robust, cars.