Efficiency gains through synergies
The Volkswagen Group is systematically continuing its worldwide model rollout. To efficiently develop new vehicles for existing and future markets, the Volkswagen Group’s individual brands make use of what are known as modular toolkits. These ensure that the synergy effects that exist both between models in one series and across all series and brands can be optimized and increased at the same time.
The Audi brand has already developed vehicles based on the Modular Longitudinal Toolkit (MLB). All these models have an engine that is mounted longitudinally to the direction of travel. Using the Modular Transverse Toolkit (MQB) – the next key step in the refinement of the cross-brand platform and modular strategy – it is possible to design vehicles whose architecture permits a transverse arrangement of the engine components. The MQB meets customers’ expectations for a growing variety of vehicle models, equipment features and design. Through the modularization of the body, vehicles can be produced in different stages for the length, width and wheelbase – an approach that benefits the manufacturing process. In return, the MQB reduces the complexity, costs incurred and time required for development. In October 2010, the first MQB platform Group-wide was welded in a large-series production facility in body production at the Wolfsburg site. We are now preparing to integrate the new standardized production technology based on the MQB into series production. Over the coming years, the MQB will provide the technical foundation for over 30 Group models in the compact and mid-size ranges.
The modular approach is becoming increasingly popular in other areas of automobile manufacturing as well. Standardized modular toolkits are being used in engine building as well as in vehicle electronics. The Modular Infotainment System (MIB) and the Modular Diesel System (MDB), for example, are helping us develop even more efficient vehicles.
Pooling strengths through strategic alliances
In 2010, we continued our existing cooperation arrangements with Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Daimler AG and the Chrysler Group on the development and production of vehicles. We also entered into a long-term strategic partnership with Suzuki Motor Corporation.
In 2010, we sought or intensified cooperation with many expert battery manufacturers to promote the development of high-voltage battery systems for hybrid drives and electric vehicles. Volkswagen and its partner VARTA Microbattery GmbH, Ellwangen, founded the joint venture VOLKSWAGEN VARTA Microbattery Forschungsgesellschaft mbH & Co KG to research and develop battery cells suitable for automobiles as well as the associated production technology. We also built up our expertise in the field of electric traction in cooperation with a large number of universities such as the Institute of Physical Chemistry at the University of Münster.
In the area of renewable second-generation biofuels Volkswagen is continuing to work with CHOREN Industries and IOGEN. Volkswagen has held a financial investment in CHOREN Industries since 2007.