Platform consolidation is the new buzzword in the automotive industry. A study, Platform Strategy will Shape Future of OEMs, by Evalueserve, states that the top OEMs will trim their number of light vehicle platforms drastically by 2020 to just two-thirds of the 175 platforms that existed in the market in 2010. The focus of vehicle manufacturers will be on large-scale production on select global platforms.
The common global platforms will be flexible enough to achieve large-scale part commonality and modularity of design, and flexible enough to support global product innovation, development and mass production. These flexible platforms will allow OEMs to not only share common engineering across brands or partners, but also to develop products across price and size segments.
Dimensional and functional flexibility will be a major characteristic that will tilt OEMs toward these global platforms. Some such platforms in the market include Renault-Nissan‘s B platform (V platform), Volkswagen‘s MQB architecture, and Toyota‘s MC platform.
The top OEMs will trim their number of light vehicle platforms drastically by 2020 to just two-thirds of the 175 platforms that existed in the market in 2010.
The share of the top 20 passenger car platforms in global production volume will increase from 40% in 2010 to 45–47% in 2015, the study states. Thus, almost half the global light vehicles will use one of the top 20 platforms, to which the three highlighted above will contribute significantly.
OEMs are adopting diverse strategies to achieve their platform consolidation goals. Volkswagen, for example, is harnessing intra-group platform synergies with its MQB platform. The group will launch multiple models, ranging from small cars to sedans, coupes, and MUVs (multi-utilitiy vehicles), on this platform. The partnership between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler is also set to maximize inter-group platform sharing over the next ten years.
Inter-segmental collaboration, along with the emergence of new vehicle segments, such as Multi Purpose Vehicles (MPVs), has resulted in an interesting trend. Several OEMs, including Renault, Nissan, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and Volkswagen are using their small and mid-size platforms in SUVs and compact MPVs. Such inter-segmental synergies will emerge as a prominent outcome of global platform consolidation by 2020.
Several OEMs, including Renault, Nissan, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and Volkswagen are using their small and mid-size platforms in SUVs and compact MPVs.
The survey also states that platform consolidation will be significantly influenced by trends in the small and mid-size segments over the next ten years, mainly because developing economies, such as China and India, will drive the demand for cars in these categories. Their sway over the market will also trigger adaptive platform development focused on emerging markets. For instance, the Honda Brio and Hyundai Eon have been built on platforms designed specifically for the Indian market.
However, the road to efficient platform consolidation, though lucrative, will be hindered by factors such as a potential increase in the risk of product recalls due to faulty parts – Toyota and Honda have borne the brunt in the recent past. Also, strong product differentiation and marketing will be critical in engaging customers across brands and models. Even supply chains will be stretched to meet global-scale localisation and production. As OEMs overcome these obstacles, a lean platform strategy will benefit the industry by lowering the cost of product development and allowing a faster market launch of products.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.
Bhavya Sehgal is an Associate Vice President of the Transportation Practice department at Evalueserve. Pronab Gorai is a Manager in the Transportation Practice department at Evalueserve.
Evalueserve is a global specialist in knowledge processes, with a team of over 2,600 professionals worldwide providing knowledge solutions, including customised research and analytics services. Evalueserve analyses, improves and executes knowledge-intensive processes and leverages its proprietary technology to increase efficiency and effectiveness, with dedicated on-site teams and scalable global knowledge centres in Chile, China, India and Romania. To learn more about Evalueserve, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.evalueserve.com
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