Synergies and Alliances

Leveraging synergies increases efficiency

Our Technical Development department worked intensively on leveraging further synergies between the brands in fiscal year 2015. The focus here was on the efficient use of resources in developing new technologies, with the goal of ensuring the Group’s long-term competitiveness. In development centers the brands work together on core technologies and form Group-wide expertise networks for addressing future topics. The goal is to stake out high-potential fields of technology and safeguard the long-term future of the Group this way. Moreover, the individual brands are increasingly making use of the modular toolkits; this makes synergies possible both between models of the same series and across model series. The initiative to improve cross-brand cooperation in development processes was continued and stepped up in 2015 to achieve greater increases in efficiency in methodology and system development in the future. The brands benefit here from an intensified exchange of best practice approaches, e.g. in virtual development. Furthermore, IT costs are to be reduced through the joint development of IT tools.

We are jointly developing transmissions, axles, selected cab components and driver assistance systems for mid-size and heavy commercial vehicles from Scania and MAN. Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH manages new developments in cooperation with the brands. The joint components form the basis for brand-specific solutions. In the long-term, joint development is focusing on the overall powertrain as a truck’s most important cost driver.

Pooling strengths with strategic alliances

In the research and further development of the high-voltage battery systems for electric and plug-in hybrid drives, we work together with experienced battery manufacturers. We continued and intensified these cooperative projects in the reporting period. VW-VM Forschungsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG made further progress with electric vehicle batteries in 2015.

Audi will develop the battery for an all-electric SUV on the basis of powerful cell modules from the Korean suppliers LG Chem and Samsung SDI. The partners want to invest in cell technology in Europe and will supply Audi from their European plants. The new technology will give drivers of the Audi SUV a range of more than 500 km.

In 2015, AUDI AG, BMW Group and Daimler AG acquired the HERE maps and location services business from Nokia Corporation. The move aims to make HERE’s products and services available for the long term in the form of an open, independent and value-creating platform for cloud-based maps and mobility services. HERE’s digital maps form the basis for the next generation of mobility and location services. These are the foundation for new assistance systems, all the way through to fully automated driving. Highly accurate digital maps are integrated with real-time vehicle data to increase road safety and enable innovative products and services.

Scheduled to conclude in 2016, we continued our cooperation with Daimler AG to produce the Crafter, in the year under review.