BERLIN (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen will shave as much as 100 kilograms (220 pounds) from the weight of its seventh-generation Golf by using stronger steel to minimize the metal content, delivering a reduction of up to 23 percent in fuel consumption.
The new materials and production processes, part of the Volkswagen Group's new MQB modular manufacturing system, will be extended to more than 40 small and mid-sized models, or about 3.5 million cars, VW said Tuesday in a briefing at its base in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Europe's biggest carmaker expects the shared architecture to cut production costs by 20 percent, manufacturing time by 30 percent and one-time expenses by 20 percent. The savings will help finance upgrades of in-car entertainment systems and the development of new generations of VW vehicles.
A revised version of VW's flagship Golf compact is scheduled to be unveiled on September 4 as the company seeks to gain market share and overtake Japan's Toyota and U.S.-based General Motors Co. to become world No. 1 in sales by 2018.
"The Golf has a preeminent role at Volkswagen because of its high production volumes, the number of employees behind it, and because the car is the face of VW," Ulrich Hackenberg, the company's brand development chief, said at the briefing.
Volkswagen's strategy favors the use of strengthened steel to reduce overall weight as a cheaper alternative to materials such as aluminum or carbon fiber, as used by BMW for its new electric-vehicle range.
Reduced fuel consumption will also lower VW's carbon dioxide emissions. The new Golf range will emit an average of 13.9 percent less CO2 per car, equal to about 119,000 metric tons in European markets, it said, aiding compliance with tougher environmental rules.
The Golf will have its public debut at the Paris auto show in late September. The car is Europe's best-selling model and VW's top-seller in the region, with European sales of 493,855 in 2011, according market researchers JATO Dynamics.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report