Volkswagen to Shorten New Car Development Times to Compete Against Chinese Brands

Volkswagen plans to cut the time it takes to develop new vehicles from 54 months to 36 months in order to compete with Chinese automakers. In an interview with Autocar, Volkswagen’s technical chief, Kai Grunitz, stated that the upcoming ID.2 is one of three pilot models that will follow a shorter development cycle.

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The ID.2all Concept, a preview of the VW ID.2, received its initial design sketches in December of last year, while the German automaker says it plans to release the production model by the end of 2025.  Grunitz said:

“You see with Chinese competitors that it’s doable. We have concrete ideas about how to do this.”

Because of the shorter development times, he continued that the company would need to develop new simulation tools and methods for validating development work because of the shorter development times. Product teams can increase efficiency by cutting back on various on-the-road validations of simulation work and test cycles, such as cutting cold-weather testing from two or three winters to one.

ID2all Studie Frontansicht Premiere DB2023AU00195 medium

However, there are risks that come with shorter development times, with Grunitz saying:

“The risk is that you don’t know where you’ll end up when you start the development process. In Germany, we have clear lines about what we want, especially at Volkswagen, and we don’t want to go into a development process with any risks. The competitors in China start [development] and are agile. If something comes up, they find a solution. That’s what we have to do in Germany. It’s a different approach. But it’s possible, really possible.” 

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Grunitz cited BYD as one Chinese automaker that has impressed him because it can produce high-quality vehicles much more quickly. He explained:

“They have a real platform strategy, low costs, a really good battery, and are all over the world building up some good sites.”

Volkswagen will collaborate more closely with its suppliers to incorporate their technology and ideas into its models in order to support its new development strategy. This will assist in avoiding extended timelines and quality issues, the latter of which Grunitz acknowledged as being a problem for the most recent Golf and ID.3 that were built using the longer, 54-month development time.

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