The automotive industry will increase its reliance on so-called megaplatforms to underpin new models to gain scale, increase flexibility and boost profit margins.
In 2015, the top 20 vehicle platforms will cover 38 percent of global passenger car production, Herbert Demel, executive vice president of the Canadian auto supplier Magna International, told Automotive News Europe.
"In 2009, the world's top 20 platforms accounted for 29 percent of global production, underpinning 18 million vehicles. This number is about to double to 35 million units in 2015, when the top 20 platforms will cover 38 percent of global output," Demel said.
The biggest platform in 2015 will be Renault Nissan's X85 architecture (also called the global B platform), according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The platform underpins cars such as the Renault Clio, Nissan Note and Dacia Logan. It will be used to produce 3.8 million vehicles in 2015, up from 2.6 million in 2010.
Last year, Volkswagen Group had the largest global platform with its PQ35/46 architecture that is used to underpin the Volkswagen Golf, Europe's best-selling car, and other models such as the Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia. About 3.13 million cars were built on the platform in 2010.
VW Group is phasing out the PQ35/46 platform. Its successor, which VW calls its Modular Transverse Toolkit, will be the second-biggest platform in 2015, underpinning 3.6 million cars.
"With the toolkit strategy, we aim to reduce one-time expenditure and unit costs by 20 percent each, and assembly hours – the time each takes to manufacture – by 30 percent," VW brand product development boss Ulrich Hackenberg told ANE.
By 2018, VW Group plans to produce 40 models on this architecture, generating production of 6 million vehicles.