Car enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting the New Volkswagen Range, based on the MQB platform. In development for some time now, the MQB platform is ready for production, at least on certain models, according to Volkswagen’s director of research Ulrich Hackenberg. This new chassis will be used on all transverse-engined models offered by this group. The reason this chassis took so long to be produced is it didn’t meet the efficiencies and savings VW wanted to achieve and they refused to release it until this was the case. Manufacturing costs have decreased, individual model tool costs have gone down by as much as 30 percent and parts cost reductions by up to 20 percent. Thanks to this, drivers will soon be able to test this platform for themselves.
The MQB platform revolves around a relationship between the firewall, engine and pedal box which means engines, transmissions, certain pressings and suspension parts can be used across the group with ease. In addition to simplifying the manufacturing process, the platform will also save time, weight and money, all of which drivers are sure to appreciate.
To debut this new platform, Volkswagen chose to have Hackenberg show it off at the award presentation ceremony for the VW Golf which won 2013 Car of the Year. The Golf has been around for many years now with 30 million of these cars sold and, at this celebration, 200,000 staff members and their families were present. Hackenberg showed the sport utility vehicles which will make use of the new platform.
Many expect the new range to include a small SUV, similar to that of the Up-based Tiguan, which was introduced as a concept car in Brazil in 2012. If the car does make it to the production line, it will be manufactured using a derivative of the MQB platform and won’t come equipped with the 4X4 drive line. Most expect it to come with an electronic traction enhancement system like those seen on the Peugeot’s 2008 and the Fiat’s Trekking models.
Volkswagen states there will be an SUV that is based on the Polo available in 2014 which will be followed by a Tiguan SUV based on the Golf in 2015. It is expected that VW will debut a coupe spin off and seven seat SUV for both the Chinese and American markets and this vehicle will be produced in the Chattanooga plant in the United States. In addition, it has been hinted that the Touareg, the popular European off road vehicle, will be a thing of the past in the near future with another model taking its place.
The one vehicle most experts don’t expect to see any time soon is the Blue Sport Concept. This sports car debuted with two seats and a mid-engine, yet VW has yet to find a way to mass produce this car at a price they are comfortable with. Some say this car first debuted in 2003 at Frankfurt as the concept R while others believe it wasn’t introduced until 2009 at Detroit using the name it goes by now.
The problem, according to Mr. Hackenberg, is that the two growing markets, America and China, just aren’t in the market for a small convertible such as this one. He states that, although MG and the Mazda MX-5 have both been very successful, the market just isn’t there for VW to justify the costs.
The one car that is expected to be a huge hit is the diesel Up. VW has successfully taken the 282mpg diesel hybrid drive line used in the XL1 supercar and putting it in the Up. Although consumers don’t know yet whether it will be a two or three cylinder model, rumors abound that this vehicle will get around 140 miles to each gallon and it is expected to debut this year, leaving drivers eagerly awaiting the Tokyo Show scheduled for later this year.
In addition to the diesel Up being introduced this year, the XL1 models are already in production. These vehicles are being made in Germany at the Karmann plant and, although no price has been offered for this vehicle yet, VW plans to produce a minimum of 250 cars as they expect people will be clamoring to buy one.
What drivers need to understand is this isn’t actually a platform. Rather, MQB refers to a system which allows different platforms to make use of engine orientation, no matter what size, brand or model they are. Certain components are standard across the range which allows the production of many different models in the same plant, which reduces overall costs. The major difference with this platform is the uniform placement of all transmissions and engines as this allows for cost savings as well as weight and complexity.
Many expect the MQB platform to vault VW to the top spot in terms of global vehicle manufacturers by the year 2018, if not sooner, knocking Toyota out of this position. Although many manufacturers have discussed this concept, VW is the first to actually achieve it, doing so by creating a flexible architecture which can accommodate a wide range of cars, from superminis to seven-seat SUVs.
Some consider this to be the most important innovation in automotive technology in 25 years and that VW will see a major increase in sales as a result. It is believed that VW will make use of this platform on 30 models with this number expected to increase. Hybrids, battery electrics, fuel cell powered cars and more, none will be excluded when this technology is used which is good as this will help to keep prices reasonable as new technology is introduced. When this is the case, everyone wins.