Volkswagen plans four new bases for cars

Reinvestment plan will include four completely new architectures from which to build different car models.

Volkswagen has four new car architectures planned as part of its revamp, according to reports.

In mid-November Volkswagen announced it would be investing 28.9 billion euros in its automotive division over the next three years. The company said the changes would focus on completely new vehicles as well "successor models and derivatives" for all of its product classes. The investment will include new powertrain technologies and updates to manufacturing plants.

Today it's been reported this will entail the introduction of four completely new base architectures from which Volkswagen will build its new models and updates, according to AutoBlog and Automotive News.

To save on manufacturing costs, several similar-sized cars are often built on the same original platform, though things like exterior sheet metal, engines, and interiors are different.

The R-line high-performance version of Volkswagen Passat unveiled on Monday. Volkswagen

In the case of Volkswagen, the company plans to use its MQB (Modulare Querbaukasten aka modular transverse component system) architecture for "upper-medium" cars like the Passat. The MQB system will be the base for over 6 million cars per year by 2018 and save up to 40 percent per car in development and manufacturing costs.

The MLB (Modulare Längsmotor-Baukasten aka modular longitudinal engine component system) will be used for the Audi A4 and A5. The MHB will be used for small rear-engine vehicles like the Space Up concept car Volkswagen has been unveiling at car shows. A fourth unnamed architecture is also under development for Volkswagen's mid-engine sports cars sold by Audi and Lamborghini, according to AutoBlog.

While Volkswagen released a statement on the revamp, it was not immediately available for comment on the particulars of what those changes would entail.

News of change for Volkswagen is not surprising given an October court ruling that gave Porsche, which holds over 30 percent voting interest in Volkswagen, the ability to exert more control . Porsche has repeatedly said it would like to revamp Volkswagen to make it competitive with Toyota in terms of global sales. Toyota is known as a pioneer for its efficient plants with modular car manufacturing.

About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

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