The Modular Platform Matrix
The Volkswagen Group has an array of brands and more models than any other automobile manufacture. These VW group brands have traditionally shared engine, platforms and a whole lot of components in between them for better synergies for reducing cost. All major automotive manufactures have similar strategies. But with Modular Platform Matrix Strategy the VW group is taking the concept of shared platforms to an all new level.
MQB (Modular Transverse Matrix)
MQB is developed by the Volkswagen to be used across all brands in the Volkswagen Group.This platform will be common to all transversely mounted engine models in the entire range of VW brands. This radically new platform will be the basis of nearly 40 different models by the end of 2017.
Majority of the Volkswagen models from Polo to Passat would be all based on the MQB that would be anything from a small hatchback to a mid size SUV. MQB provides uniform mounting position for all engines. The length, width, height, wheelbase, wheel size and also the seating position are all variable, only standardized portion of the structure is the distance of the accelerator pedal to the front wheel center. The MQB enables identical mounting of all the current alternative drive trains from natural gas to hybrids and also electric drive. The MQB will be further strengthen by modular petrol engine system (MOB) and modular diesel engine system(MDB), thereby reducing engine and gearbox variants across the group by 90 per cent. The MQB platform vehicle will be lighter by 40kg to 60kg that would lead to increase in fuel efficiency of about 20 percentage. MQB models will offer 20 innovative features in the areas of safety and infotainment.
The MQB platform took six years to develop and was first introduced in the Audi A3 and then followed up with the introduction of the latest generation Golf.
Small car such as the VW up!, SEAT Mii, and Skoda Citigo will be based of the (NSF) New Small Family Matrix.
The completing the modular matrix strategy will be the MLB (Modular Standard Platform) being developed by Audi, and the MSB (Modular Standard Platform) by Porsche which will be put to use in the next generation of Porsche Panamera, Bentley Continental, and VW Phaeton.
Volkswagen Group plans to save $19 Billion by sharing MQB platform among more then 40 different models. MQB platform would contribute annual sales of 6.3 million units by 2019.
The new kit architecture „is more than a new technology, it is a strategic weapon,” said Ulrich Hackenberg, chief of Volkswagen’s Research and Development.
Volkswagen plans to have MQB manufacturing capability at 20 plants worldwide.
Plants manufacturing MQB based models will acquire great flexibility in production . They would be able to manufacture different models of different brands on the same line thus better utilization of capacity.
The MQB platform gives VW strategic advantage in reducing development as well manufacturing cost and much better synergies between its brands. It give a major advantage over its rivals in introducing models in niche segments and a greater flexibility in developing vehicles for specialized markets. The only risk involved would be incase a single part fails there would be a massive global recall involving millions of cars.
VW rival brands such as Ford, GM, Toyota & other competitors currently don’t have have anything remotely similar to the modular platform architecture.
It is still premature to comment on the financial impact of MQB on the bottom line of VW balance sheet yet.
Mass production made Ford the leading automakers but General Motors successfully challenged it with hierarchy of various brand. Toyota dominated with the principles of lean manufacturing. Modular platform architecture might just be the thing that heralds VW to the top of the automotive league.
Intel Report: MQB Architecture at Audi and the Volkswagen Group (Online) http://www.fourtitude.com/news/publish/Features/article_7484.shtml (25th November 2013)
Insight: Has Volkswagen discovered the Holy Grail of carmakers? By Laurence Frost and Andreas Cremer and Paul Lienert (Online) http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/02/11/us-autos-volkswagen-future-idUSBRE91A04D20130211 (25th November 2013)
Volkswagen MQB platform (Online) http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/2013-volkswagen-golf/volkswagen-mqb-platform-full-technical-details (25th November 2013)
A Look at Volkswagen’s New MQB Platform for Front-Wheel-Drive Cars by K.C. Colwell (Online)http://blog.caranddriver.com/a-look-at-volkswagen%E2%80%99s-new-mqb-platform-for-front-wheel-drive-cars/ (25th November 2013)
7 questions on MQB byMarkus Lupa (Online) http://www.dasauto-magazine.com/UK/7-questions-on-modular-transverse-matrix/ (25th November 2013)
The beginning of a new era: Volkswagen introduces the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) (Online) http://www.volkswagenag.com/content/vwcorp/info_center/en/news/2012/02/The_beginning_of_a_new_era_Volkswagen_introduces_the_Modular_Transverse_Matrix_MQB.html (25th November 2013)
Volkswagen – On the Road of Success by Hans Dieter Pötsch (Online) http://www.volkswagenag.com/content/vwcorp/info_center/en/talks_and_presentations/2010/09/Frankfurt_Roadshow.bin.html/binarystorageitem/file/2010-09-01+Roadshow+Frankfurt_final.pdf (25th November 2013)
Volkswagen Group – Shaping the future of mobility (Online) http://www.volkswagenag.com/content/vwcorp/info_center/en/themes/2012/03/VIAVISION_No_02_March_2012.html (25th November 2013)