Synergies and Alliances
Leveraging synergies increases efficiency
Our Technical Development department worked intensively on leveraging further synergies between the brands in fiscal year 2014. The focus here was on efficient use of resources in technical development, with the goal of safeguarding the Group’s long-term competitiveness. The Group Board of Management Technology Committee drove forward cross-brand cooperation, in particular in the primary technology fields of connectivity, piloted driving, e-mobility and lightweight construction. The individual brands are increasingly making use of our modular toolkits, which ensure synergy effects both between models in one series and across all series and brands. In addition, 2014 saw the start of a cross-brand cooperation initiative in development processes. This aims to ensure that methodology and system development can be further improved in future. The brands are benefitting from an intensified exchange of best practices, e.g. in virtual development. The joint development of IT tools is designed to reduce future IT expenses. Further synergies can be leveraged in heavy commercial vehicles following the full acquisition of Scania. As part of the cooperation, Scania’s transmission hardware will gradually be implemented in MAN’s TGS and TGX series vehicles from 2016. In addition, the intention is for the next generation of Scania’s current transmission portfolio to be developed jointly. This partnership is designed to result in components that set global standards in commercial vehicle technology, while safeguarding brand identity.
Pooling strengths with strategic alliances
The Volkswagen Group is systematically pressing ahead with research into and the ongoing development of high-voltage battery systems for electric and plug-in hybrid drives in cooperation with expert battery manufacturers. We continued and intensified these cooperative projects in the reporting period. VOLKSWAGEN VARTA Microbattery Forschungsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, which we manage together with VARTA Microbattery GmbH, successfully continued its work and achieved important research results in the field of electric vehicle batteries in 2014.
Our collaborative projects with the Budapest University of Technology and Economics and the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California – as well as with other national and international partners – are also in the area of battery research.
We continued our cooperation with Daimler AG in 2014 to produce the Crafter; this arrangement will continue until 2016.