Analysts say VW may face a new challenge, as the very platform the Germans have spent six years in development may not be working according to plan.
The highly adaptable “MQB” vehicle platform, which was heralded last year by VW as the dawn of a new era for car making, according to analysts keeps weighing on profits and its eventual savings may fall short of the ambitious targets.
A German acronym for “modular transverse matrix”, MQB enables VW to design virtually all the small and medium front-wheel-drive models of its four biggest car brands on a single platform, affecting as many as 4 million vehicles a year, including the Golf and Audi A3.
Featuring a greater degree of plug-and-play modularity and parts commonality than at Toyota and GM, the new platform was hailed by analysts as the philosopher’s stone for a company that wants to become the biggest and most profitable carmaker in the world.
None the less, the costs of the engineering overhaul are outrunning the benefits at a time when Europe’s biggest carmaker, pursuing vigorous growth overseas, is mulling spending cuts in its home region to counter weak demand.
“MQB is overhyped,” London-based Bernstein analyst Abbas Quettawala said, citing high costs for installing the technology at plants around the globe and suppliers’ difficulties in tooling up to make their components fit.
by Aurel Niculescu
) - Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 - filed under Industry
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