Volkswagen AG (VOW) will shave as much as 100 kilograms (220 pounds) from the weight of its updated Golf model by using stronger steel to minimize the metal content, delivering a 23 percent reduction in fuel consumption.
The new materials and production processes, part of a modular manufacturing system, will be extended to more than 40 small and mid-sized models, or about 3.5 million cars, VW said yesterday 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 autos.
A revised version of VW’s flagship Golf is scheduled to be unveiled on Sept. 4 as the company seeks to gain market share and overtake Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and Detroit-based General Motors Co. (GM:US) 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 Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) for its new electric-vehicle range.
Reduced fuel consumption will also lower VW’s carbon dioxide emissions. The new Golf will emit 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.
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