German automakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz have decided to reduce the number of vehicle architectures as a method to slash costs and speed up development.

German automakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz have decided to reduce the number of vehicle architectures as a method to slash costs and speed up development.

BMW together with MINI currently have five vehicle architectures but according to Herbert Diess – a board member for research and development – that number will decrease to just two platforms: one for front-wheel drive cars and the other for RWD models. It should be mentioned the i3 plug-in hybrid/electric and i8 plug-in hybrid will not be included in this architecture restructuring.

Mercedes-Benz head of worldwide R&D Thomas Weber said the company will reduce its number of architectures from nine in 2009 to only four (MFA, MRA, MHA, MSA). The first one will be for front-wheel drive cars (A- and B-class); second one for rear-wheel drive models (C-, E-, S-Class, GLK); third one for large crossovers (ML, 2015 ML-based two-door, GL); last one for sports cars (SL, SLK and probably AMG GT).

As a result of these changes, more models within the BMW and MINI range, respectively Mercedes-Benz lineup, will share a significantly increased number of components. Weber said cost savings "are huge" while at the same time improving overall quality. In addition, he mentioned the time necessary to market new or facelifted models will go down significantly.