BRUSSELS - Volkswagen Group is 30 percent of the way toward its transformation goals, said Chairman Ferdinand Piech.
It is making money and slimming down. However, only 10 percent of its sales are from models using the four new platforms on which its future is based, said Piech. The platform strategy is behind VW's product-based recovery and expansion.
Within three years, VW group plans to expand its range from today's 38 vehicles to eventually 51, Piech said. One will be the new VW Beetle, which will be sold around the world.
'A large diversity of products makes it possible to respond better to individual customer wishes. It is an important factor for opening up niche segments and new markets,' said Piech.
The use of a common platform means standardized parts for under-the-skin components such as engines, fuel tanks, running gear, steering, seat frames or floor pans, said Piech. A platform is then individualized for each make.
Piech said the new VW Passat and Audi A4, which share a platform, show the strategy is working. The A4 came in 1995, and the new Passat arrived in Europe last fall. Orders for the A4 dropped less than expected when the Passat arrived, Piech said. In 1996, orders for the two cars combined were 50,000 units higher than a year earlier.