Volkswagen has let go of its global production chief, Dr Michael Macht, due to significant problems in the production of cars built around the MQB modular toolkit.
Dr Macht, board member responsible for group production, is the first senior management casualty from the roll out of the much vaunted MQB modular platform, with Volkswagen saying that Macht left by “mutual agreement”.
According to Automotive News Europe, production of the new Golf at the company’s main Wolfsburg plant was fraught by a succession of delays and a high amount of worker overtime. A report in Der Spiegel claimed that new equipment at the plant, costing hundreds of millions of euros, failed to operate correctly upon installation.
Cars currently using the MQB system include the Audi A3, Seat Leon, Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf. Soon the next generation Volkswagen Passat and Audi TT, as well as the Volkswagen Tiguan SUV, will also ride on MQB. And, in time, MQB will underpin every transverse engine model made by the company from the Polo up to the seven-seat SUV that is based on the CrossBlue concept.
For the last few years, Volkswagen has been talking up the MQB modular platform toolkit as a way of both producing a wide variety of cars and lowering the company’s costs.
These benefits may one day play out, but for now Volkswagen is suffering from low margins and is increasingly reliant on profits from luxury brands, like Audi and Porsche. Reuters claims cars from the mainstream Volkswagen brand have a profit margin of around 2.3 per cent. That’s well behind rival Toyota on 8.8 per cent and Hyundai’s 9.5 per cent.
Volkswagen is currently look to slash up to five million euros ($7.2 million) from its bottom line. To that end, the company has reportedly asked some of its brands to scale back their new model ambitions.