VW learns from Toyota’s recalls crisis, modifies testing process

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 1, 2012

The rise of Toyota to the bestselling position in the industry beginning 2008 has led to potentially massive problems due to the sharing of faulty components and owing to its large size too. Toyota recalled at least 12 million vehicles in 2009 and 2010. Meanwhile, Volkswagen was just putting the finishing touches on its "modular toolbox" manufacturing system, which is a mass-scale platform-sharing system that the automaker will use in line with its goal to outperform Toyota and all other vehicle manufacturers by 2018.

It’s believed that VW's chief executive Martin Winterkorn has become persistent in testing the first vehicles such as the Audi A3 due to come out of the new modular transverse toolkit. In fact, a consultant who knows the automaker well said that Winterkorn was "completely merciless" with the tests.

The consultant also said that the automaker knows that the modular toolbox is a risk.

Toyota's rise and its subsequent travails have not been lost on the managers of VW in Wolfsburg. Managing a vehicle company with its wide range of technologies, products and regional operations poses challenges that increase in proportion to a size of the manufacturer.

The crisis of Toyota exposed a company with a limited management that was unable to rise to the challenge of handling a worldwide organization. The managers of Toyota blamed some of the crisis on poor training of offshore staff and a failure to inculcate them in the company's culture.

Currently, VW has 10 truck and car brands. It also has 500,000 employees, around 50% of which are employed abroad. By 2018, that proportion will increase to around 60%.

VW bets on the new Audi A3

Looking for premium and elegant compact cars with sporty twists? Then you may want to consider the new three-door Audi A3 and the five-door A3 Sportback – featuring the elegance typical of Audi vehicles and the powerful, sporty and efficient engines. They now present less impact on the environment, with the new Audi A3 1.6 emitting only 99 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer (159.33 g/mile).

The new Audi A3 and A3 Sportback feature upscale equipment and trim and could be equipped optionally with S tronic dual-clutch transmission, quattro permanent all-wheel drive and the Audi magnetic ride suspension system. The front end of the new front-wheel-drive Audi A3 and the front-wheel-drive A3 Sportback could also be fitted optionally with xenon plus headlights combined with LED daytime running lights.

For a more elegantly premium appearance, these premium compact models come with single-frame grille element and B-posts trims in high-gloss black, with lower air inlets feature chrome struts and door handles have chrome strips (except on the S3). Adding to the sporty looks of the Audi A3 is a diffuser insert with a characteristic spoiler lip in the rear.

The taillights of the five-door A3 Sportback feature light guide rods forming a distinctive contour, while the three-door A3 comes with tinted tail lights. Inside, the instruments of the new Audi A3 feature a gray background with the air vents are framed in black rings. The center console, window lifter buttons and mirror adjuster switch feature aluminum-look trim inserts.

Customers may avail of the optional navigation system with a high-gloss bezel as well as a flat-bottomed, leather sport steering wheel. Manual models of the A3 come with a shift indicator in the driver information system, which comes as standard starting with the Ambition trim line. The trunk of the new A3 could accommodate between 350 liters to 1,080 liters (between 12.36 cu ft to 38.14 cu ft) of cargo. Meanwhile, the trunk of the Audi A3 Sportback could accommodate between 370 liters and 1,100 liters (13.07 cu ft to 38.85 cu ft) of cargo.

Topics: vw, toyota, recall

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