Audi’s new A3 that will go on display at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show would be the first to utilize the new Modular Transverse Toolkit developed by parent Volkswagen Group. VW is planning for this modular platform to be used on 6 million vehicles across 40 different models in the Audi, VW, Skoda and Seat brands by 2018.
According to VW, the new platform, which is referred to as MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten in German), would aid in reducing costs by 20% and cutting assembly hours by 30% per unit.
In addition, the MQB architecture will enable Audi to increase output and profit margins as well as increase its production flexibility when putting together different models and various brands on the same assembly line. The second model where the MQB will be used would be the seventh-generation Golf, which was introduced last September at the Paris auto show. The modularity of the platform will enable VW to build a range of models, from the VW Polo subcompact to the VW Tiguan compact SUV.
For many decades, automakers have been sharing platforms but in the past, it had meant the use of the same chassis. This led to comparable cars that have the same wheelbase and suspension setup. Platforms had become more flexible and the use of different large modules became more common, enabling automakers to build cars that have significantly different shapes and sizes at the same plant.
What powers them are basically identical too. VW's MQB platform features the uniform engine-mounting position that enables the automaker to integrate a series of 60-hp to 150-hp gasoline engines and 90-hp to 190-hp diesel units. VW explained that the engine-mounting position permits the use of current alternative drivetrains like natural gas, hybrid and battery driven.