Annual Report

Research and Development

Research and development activities in the Volkswagen Group in 2010 concentrated on two areas: expanding our product portfolio and improving the functionality, quality, safety and environmental compatibility of Group products.

One of the main areas of focus was the expansion and intensification of the Company’s activities regarding the electrification of our vehicle portfolio. To maximize synergy effects, we created a discrete Group function that manages and coordinates all e-mobility-related activities on a cross-brand, interdisciplinary basis.

As we expand our model range, reducing the carbon emissions from our vehicles becomes important. Implementing our forward-looking powertrain strategy has enabled us to reduce our fleet’s average CO2 emissions by 22 g/km in the past five years, i.e. by around 15%. The Volkswagen Group currently offers 220 model variants whose carbon emissions are below 130 g/km, 116 of which emit less than 120 g/km. CO2 emissions in 20 of our model variants have already dropped below 100 g/km.

Integrating innovations into vehicles

In 2010, the independent Center of Automotive Management (Cauma) performed its fifth analysis of innovation performance in the automotive industry worldwide, from which it determined that our Volkswagen and Audi brands significantly increased our innovation activities again compared with the previous years. The Volkswagen Group obtained pole position in this analysis for the third time in succession.

In the following paragraphs we present the most important innovations – new models, powertrains and systems launched during the past fiscal year.

The new Touareg from the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand offers a world premiere with the Dynamic Light Assist: the camera-based dynamic main beam control system “sees” oncoming cars and vehicles in front and, in each individual headlamp, automatically switches between dipped and main beam without dazzling other road users. The new Touareg also comes with the Area View system, which displays the vehicle’s surroundings on the touchscreen of the radio or radio-navigation system. This system utilizes four cameras to provide a 360-degree view around the vehicle as well one virtual camera above the vehicle for an aerial view.

Number of vehicles
CO2-emissions – Status quo (bar chart)

The new Passat is taking innovations from the premium segment to the mid-size range. These include safety features such as a fatigue detection system – a first for a car in this class – that detects reduced driver concentration based on steering behavior and warns the driver with an acoustic signal. The new automatic city emergency braking function reacts independently at speeds below 30 km/h when sensors detect a chance of collision. Thanks to the new Easy Open system, the trunk can be opened with a movement of the foot under the rear bumper. This makes it easier to load the vehicle when one’s hands are full.

The new Sharan is family-friendly with sliding doors, integrated child seats and the EasyFold seating system, with which the seats in the second row can be stowed quickly and easily in the vehicle floor, thus providing maximum flexibility. The new Park Assist system enables the MPV to be parked in even smaller spaces and now also at right angles to the direction of travel.

The new Phaeton is winning over customers in the premium segment with a whole range of innovations. A camera integrated into the interior mirror registers road signs and forwards the information to the touchscreen and multifunction instrument panel. The new radio-navigation system “RNS 810” facilitates an Internet-based search by points of interest (POI) and allows satellite images to be displayed.

In 2010, the Audi brand unveiled the Audi A1, the first premium vehicle in the subcompact segment. This combines progressive design, uncompromising quality and pioneering efficiency – all in a total length of under four meters. Powered by a 1.6 TDI engine*, the Audi A1 uses only 3.9 l of fuel per 100 km and produces 103 g of CO2 per kilometer (combined).

With the Audi A8, the Audi A7 Sportback and the recently launched Audi A6, the brand is once again demonstrating its expertise in aluminum lightweight construction. The aluminum space frame (ASF) for the Audi A8 and the steel/aluminum mixed construction with over 20% aluminum in the Audi A7 Sportback and the Audi A6 are setting standards in lightweight body construction. An innovative engine concept with thermal management is reducing fuel consumption in the Audi A6 Saloon 2.0 TDI* to 4.9 l diesel per 100 km; CO2 emissions are a mere 129 g/km (combined).

Audi also demonstrated innovative strength in the enhancement of its MMI touch operating system as well as with Audi pre sense, a safety system providing preventive occupant protection, and the pioneering full-LED headlamps.

In 2010, Škoda presented the second generation of its environmentally friendly GreenLine models featuring state-of-the-art engines, a cutting-edge start-stop system and regenerative braking, as well as low-resistance tires. The GreenLine range now includes models from all five of the brand’s series.

Last year, the SEAT brand rolled out a new generation of efficient TDI and TSI engines that together with aerodynamic features, a start-stop system and regenerative braking have trimmed fuel consumption and emissions.

After unveiling the Amarok DoubleCab in 2009, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles debuted the Amarok SingleCab in 2010, whose loading space has been extended to 2.20 m with the same vehicle dimensions as the four-door double cabin model. This makes it possible to stow two sideways-loaded euro pallets behind each other.

In 2010, Scania launched the V8 truck range, rolling out the world’s most powerful truck boasting a 537 kW (730 PS) engine and an impressive maximum torque of 3,500 Nm. The V8 series gives customers the best possible combination of performance, transport efficiency, fuel economy, durability and driver appeal. Scania also tested a spoiler that reduces fuel consumption by 2%. This could save 1,200 l of fuel every 200,000 km and avoid 3 t of CO2 emissions.

* Consumption and emission data can be found here.
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