The prices of an increasing number of Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat spare parts are likely to be standardised as a result of the new shared vehicle architecture developed for their next generation of small and medium-sized cars.
Already the VW Group operates a common pricing policy where the same part is used by different brands. It means, for example, that an oil filter for an upmarket Audi is no more expensive than that for a mainstream Skoda as long as they are the same.
The packaging for many spare parts already carries the logos of all four major VW Group brands.
The new vehicle architecture, which is destined to be the basis of dozens of new VW Group models in the coming years, will lead to even more sharing of parts and standardised prices.
For example, the number of engine and gearbox options offered by the Group will be reduced by 90 per cent.
The architecture is called MQB – a shortened version of a long German word – and it allows petrol, diesel, electric and hybrid models to go down the same production line.
It also permits any transverse-engined car from a Polo to a Passat to be built together, or Audis and Skodas to be made in the same factory if desired.
The first cars to use it are last year’s new Audi A3 and the seventh-generation VW Golf, which has just gone on sale in the UK.
MQB also brings other advantages. Cars can be more easily tailored for individual markets, and niche models are more affordable to introduce.
It contributes towards reductions in vehicle weight and makes it easier to incorporate safety and infotainment innovations – VW is promising 20 of these with the next generation of cars.
All of this helps to keep down prices. The new Golf range starts at £16,285 – £165 less than the cheapest version of the outgoing car.