VW hopes to catch up to Toyota by 2018 with 10 million sales. Key to the VW plans are four new architectures, of which the transverse-engined MQB platform will be a cornerstone.

Four new architectures

Volkswagen has big plans, really big plans. So ambitious that even the mighty Toyota get caught in between the crosshair's of VW's board. VW hopes to catch up to Toyota by 2018 with 10 million sales. Volkswagen tallied up 5,7 million sales in 2006.

Key to the VW plans are four new architectures, of which the transverse-engined MQB platform will be a cornerstone. The MQB platform will be used for small, lower-medium and upper-medium models, possibly totalling a grand total of 6 million cars, and is rumoured to be the logical platform replacement of up to 20 models. Current record holding platform is the VW PQ35/46 platform with 2,3 million units, underpinning, amongst others, the VW Golf.

According to an insider, the first model based on the new MQB platform could be launched by 2010 as the next generation VW Touran. Ulrich Hackenberg, VW Board Member, was quoted: “MQB is planned for a broad application, from small cars up to and including upper-medium. The first model to emerge can be expected in 2010.”

The second architecture will be called the rear-engined MHB platform and is destined to underpin VW's New Small Family minicar range, of which the Up! concepts are forerunners.

VW also has a mid-engine sports car platform in mind for the R8 and Lamborghinis. There are even some rumours floating around that Bugatti may come with a more-affordable model.

Last, but certainly not least, is the MLB platform with longitudinally mounted engines taken over from Audi. The MLB is currently used for the new Audi A4 and A5. Hackenberg said: “But MLB could be used for models up to the largest in our group.” Which would not just be the larger Audis (A6 and A8) but also the VW Phaeton and even the Bentley's.

All this sounds very logical, but besides that it will also be highly efficient. Four major platforms to cover every model in the VW Group can cut development costs by up to 40%, for instance safety technologies like crumple zones can be shared across many models. But besides cutting costs, it will also enable Volkswagen to develop new and niche models very quickly in order to respond to market demand.

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Volkswagen Targets Toyota with 4 New Platforms