At a time when investment in technology prevails due to electric cars, aspects such as differentiation between brands may end up being left in the background for large automobile consortiums. Proof of this are the latest comments by Thomas Schaefer, CEO of the Volkswagen firm and responsible for all the group’s volume brands, who says that the German consortium can afford to their cars are more alike because ‘the competition is out’.
And it is that, one of the problems that the Volkswagen Group has always accused has been its own variety of models that it has had under the umbrella of its multiple brands, and with this everything that this entails; from the obligatory offer of engines that adapts to the needs of each specific model, to the adaptation of each factory to the production of each particular car.
From now on the German group wants each new model that is launched enjoys a greater resemblance to its namesake in the other brands of the group. With this, what they seek is to increase their economic efficiency and allocate the margin they earn to fronts that are most urgent for them right now. For example, for the next (and last) generation of the Volkswagen Passat, the German brand delegated the development of the model to Skoda. With this, the Czech firm is in charge of shaping the German sedan in parallel to the Skoda Superb.
“In the past we have wasted too much time worrying about each other,” Schaefer was quoted as saying by Automotive News Europe, referring to the product overlap issues the German group has previously had. “The competition is outside, it is not inside the company,” he sentenced.
That Volkswagen models enjoy synergies in common between them is nothing new, in fact it is easy to identify common components between different models of different brands for many years, but Volkswagen intends to take this to a new level. It can be said, in fact, that the group has already begun to apply this method with electric cars such as the Cupra Born and Volkswagen ID.3, whose design leaves no doubt that these are two cars whose development has taken place in common.
Budding models such as the affordable electric cars that are yet to come (those based on the MEB Small platform) also promise to take these synergies to a new level, although they will not stop trying to imprint each model with the personality of each brand.
However, this similarity will only increase between the volume brands of the German consortium, not the most exclusive ones such as Porsche or Bentley. Namely, SEAT, Volkswagen, Skoda and perhaps in the more compact models of Audi. Between these firms they accumulate 80% of the sales of the Volkswagen Group globally, forming the commercial backbone of the German conglomerate.