Electric vehicles allow automakers to find new ways to produce them. New manufacturing processes and simpler hardware could lead to big savings for automakers. For Volkswagen Group, that means its mainstream products will continue to look radically different, but they will begin to share more parts in the future.
In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schäfer, who also oversees VW Group’s volume brands, told the publication that the group will focus on differentiating each brand’s individual design, allowing the automaker to reduce engine and trim complexity across VW Group’s mainstream brands – Volkswagen, Skoda, and Seat. According to the publication, 80 percent of VW Group’s deliveries consist of its volume models, and Schäfer said the company hopes for a 20-percent efficiency gain.
Gallery: 2022 Volkswagen ID.5 And ID.5 GTX
VW Group hopes its mainstream, volume brands can begin sharing factories, components, and more, making the developing and production process more cost-effective. VW’s MEB platform is such an example, with the architecture underpinning VW, Audi, and Skoda models. Schäfer also told ANE that VW Group had to become more competitive, and the company is looking to add more crossovers and SUVs to its brands’ lineups to achieve that.
VW Group is already preparing for that future with Project Trinity, a new EV architecture that’ll lay the groundwork for the automaker’s next generation of EVs. The new vehicle will ride on the Group’s new Scalable Systems Platform and allegedly borrow design cues from a crossover, sedan, and hatch, possibly resembling the new Toyota Crown, which sits somewhere between a sedan and a crossover.
As EVs become the norm with their battery pack, electric motor, driver screens, and software, automakers will increasingly look toward design to differentiate their products. EVs present a significant change to the industry, reducing complexities in the production process and simplifying powertrain lineups. It’s not a new concept for brands under one umbrella to share components, but the transition to EVs opens automakers to some fresh possibilities.