After a long internal struggle, Porsche has been chosen over Audi to oversee development of sports cars and luxury sedans for the Volkswagen Group.
When VW Group first took over Porsche, they planned to hand them new sports car architectures, likely from Audi, to underpin their cars with, including the 911. However, the engineers were worried that the VW architectures would not provide the stiff handling for which Porsches are often praised. This led to a dispute over who would be responsible for sports cars in VW Group.
But now the decision has been made, and Porsche will be making their own sports car architectures. Not only does this mean the 911 will stay the way they want it to, but other automakers under VW Group will benefit from their expertise. They will be working on platforms for front-mid- and rear-mid-engine cars, to be used by Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini.
Porsche will also create a “modular standard matrix” luxury sedan platform to underpin the Porsche Panamera and future Bentleys.
To fulfill their new role in VW Group, Porsche will add a new wind tunnel, design center, electronics integration center and around 100 engineers at its development center in Weissach, a city near Stuttgart.
Despite not getting what they wanted, Audi hasn’t been left out entirely. They will continue to develop the “modular longitudinal matrix” platform, introduced in 2007 and underpinnings the likes of the Audi A4, A5 and Q5. As many as 15 cars will end up using this platform throughout Volkswagen Group.
The Volkswagen brand will also play a role in platform development, with the responsibility of creating the “modular transverse matrix” platform. Its first production use will be underpinning the next Audi A3 in 2012, but up to 40 models and 6 million units will eventually use it, including the next Volkswagen Golf.
The strategy of using all these shared, versatile platform, called the “modular toolkit strategy,” is said to reduce development, procurement and production costs by 20 percent and engineered hours by 30 percent. It also increases production flexibility, allowing the company to add more model variants without spending too much money. This will help them achieve their goal of becoming the number one automaker in the world in sales and profitability.
Source: Automotive News – sub. req.