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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Volkswagen Plans To Shorten Product Lifecycles

    Volkswagen Is Planning To Cut The Lifecycle of Their Products

    Volkswagen has outlined new plans to bring new and updated models to the U.S. on a shorter timeframe. Michael Horn, head of VW’s U.S. operations told Bloomberg that the company is planning to introduce new models every five years, down from the current seven years. As for refreshes, Volkswagen wants cut that down from four to three years.

    “Customers want quicker change. We’re working to shorten the life cycle of the products to bring more new features and design elements, in terms of face-lifts, to the market quicker. We believe we have a positive business case. It commercially makes sense that we move,” said Horn.

    Now Volkswagen's management board needs to sign off on this plan for it to go into effect. If given the go-ahead, the plan would likely go into effect by 2017 at the earliest.

    Source: Bloomberg

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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    Wasn't that the whole point of MQB? By making the platform super flexible and spreading the costs out further, they would be able to do updates sooner. My guess is that someone in management saw the cost savings of MQB and decided to just keep the refresh cycle at the normal pace and pocket the savings instead.

    And who does 7 year model refreshes anymore? Even the W-Bodies didn't go that long.

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    I thought the whole Idea of JIT "Just in Time" delivery of parts was that this would allow all auto companies to make changes faster and get the parts into the plants and not be left with a ton of inventory when you needed to make a change.

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    nowadays I think 4 years for a body style is about right. i think interior updates are needed continually. platforms are more fuzzy. You can swap powertrains, but still have the same platform. You can do a new body on an existing platform.

    Basics are that the car buying population and general public sort of sees a design lose its fresh, faster these days. Most leases are 3 year. If you can catch people close to matching the lease / buy cycle with body style changes that is probably ok.

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    family midsize segment can't exceed 4 years seemingly.

    look at sonata. breakthough product in 2011 and now for 2015 they are modifying it into a turd.

    current malibu should not exceed 4 years. It needs to increase in size to sonata / fusion / passat / optima size.

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    Agree with Reg. VW is kind of a one or two trick pony right now, as the Diesels and GTI are the only really competitive products they sell. A Golf with the 2.5 is not terribly fuel efficient, but would be a reliable and decent choice in a car if one got the manual. But VW can't build an autotrajic outside of the DSG to save its ass.

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    family midsize segment can't exceed 4 years seemingly.

    look at sonata. breakthough product in 2011 and now for 2015 they are modifying it into a turd.

    current malibu should not exceed 4 years. It needs to increase in size to sonata / fusion / passat / optima size.

    Eh.. I think the new Sonata will do well... it is rather conservative and the new Camry turned into this weird looking Corolla/Avalon mongrel.

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    7 years works if you have a refresh in the middle. 7 years with no refresh does not work except maybe on niche vehicles. Look at the GMC Acadia, that went on sale in 2007, it is in its 8th model year and 2015 will make 9 model years before being replaced. Thats too long, but it hasn't seen sales go down the toilet because there was a refresh in the middle.

    Maybe VW can bring back the Phaeton, they can give it a 2 year life cycle because sales will be dead by that point.

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    I think major refreshes like the lambdas count. Its okay to use tge platform again when the platform is good, and lambda sales prove that to be the case.

    VW is another story. Their platforms are good but the refreshes far too conservative. The Jetta just got a face lift..... did anyone even notice?

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    I think major refreshes like the lambdas count. Its okay to use tge platform again when the platform is good, and lambda sales prove that to be the case.

    VW is another story. Their platforms are good but the refreshes far too conservative. The Jetta just got a face lift..... did anyone even notice?

    The latest jetta change was considered a refresh? I figured they just tweaked it and was running it long in the tooth. I am amazed they consider that a refresh. WOW :blink:

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    Mercedes does a 7 year cycle with a refresh after 4. The C-class is a good example, 2008-2011 just had the minor tweaks here and there in equipment or adding some LED lights, then 2012 got the all new interior and revised fascia, a turbo 4 option and DI V6. That was able to keep it fresh another 3 years. The Lambdas all had good exterior refreshes so they look current still, but they didn't do anything with the engines. BMW also does a 7 year cycle, and they tweak the bumpers, headlights, tail lights, introduce a new engine or transmission, etc and it works for them too.

    The Jetta refresh will go unnoticed, it doesn't look like they did anything. So if that is the type of refresh they plan to do, they might as well replace the car every 4-5 years.

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    GM typically alternates the powertrain refresh with the body refresh. So for Lambdas it went Release - Powertrain update - Refresh.

    Though it doesn't show up on paper, the 6-speed auto in the Lambdas was heavily revised during the latest body refresh and it is noticeable when driving.

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    Apple seems to be able to this quite well. Their products rarely last over a year. If the product is out that long, it will need some software up grade and then if it does live longer than that it will most likely crash or break before your very eyes. I  just hope VW does not get to those levels where their products do not last as long anymore.

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