Current VW models usually take 54 months to go from drawing board to production.
The first model to benefit from this accelerated schedule will be the ID.2, set to launch in late 2025.
This change in procedures is intended to compete more directly with Chinese automakers.
The rapid progression of Chinese automakers in Asia and Europe is concerning for many established automakers, but Volkswagen thinks it has found a way to remain competitive.
Indeed, the German automaker has studied its Chinese counterparts and noted that they spend much less time developing new models, something that Volkswagen believes could help it remain on top of the industry.
According to Kai Grunitz, VW’s technical boss, Chinese automakers have shown it is possible to deliver quality products in a short time.
As a result, the company will reduce new product development times from 54 months to just 36 months, with the goal of introducing new models more quickly than before.
This shorter development cycle will require a lot of work, however, since Grunitz says Volkswagen will need to create new simulation processes that will be precise enough so as to not require real-world validation before the vehicle goes on sale.
In addition, cold-weather testing will have to be limited to just one year instead of two or three, which will require very different testing methods in order to ensure the same quality and performance in regular use.
Speaking of quality, recent Volkswagen models such as the Mk8 Golf and the ID.3 have had their fair share of teething problems despite benefiting from the longer 54-month development process.
Thus, avoiding quality deficiencies while cutting down on testing and validating new vehicles will prove to be a challenge for the automaker, from Grunitz’s own admission.
One way to ensure quality might be to rely more heavily on external suppliers instead of trying to develop each component in-house, something Volkswagen has already committed to by partnering with Hyundai’s powertrain division for some of its future EVs.
In addition, the company wants to keep building on existing models rather than completely redo their engineering every few years, which means that future generations of a new product might keep as much as 70 to 80% of their predecessor’s technical solutions, with new designs providing the main distinction.
The first model that will be a result of the 36-month development cycle will be the ID.2, a compact electric hatchback that is slated to arrive on the market in late 2025.