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Product Development: ULRICH HACKENBERG, Board member for development, Volkswagen Group

Ulrich Hackenberg

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Ulrich Hackenberg, 62, is showing competitors how to slash development costs, cut production time and react faster to market trends.

VW's seventh-generation Golf, which went on sale in Europe this month, uses a new MQB modular architecture that will underpin nearly 4 million vehicles annually by 2017. It will be used by four VW Group brands for microcars, sedans, crossovers and SUVs. With the MQB, VW expects to slash parts and development costs by 20 percent and cut production time by 30 percent.

Under Hackenberg, VW also is developing more hybrid and electric models. The VW Jetta hybrid goes on sale in the United States in December and an electric Golf will debut in 2014.

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