You are probably aware, that if you buy a Skoda Fabia, you're not only getting the engine from the VW Polo, you're also getting the entire drive-train plus the chassis and suspension. With VW, the same technology is “hidden” under a number of different bodies.
You may not have noticed that the engines themselves, apart from those used in the top of the range luxury cars, are becomming more and more uniform. Thus, several companies are using the same basic Diesel engine to power five, or even more performance variations.
If now, like it is at VW, the transverse engine from the up! is used for almost everything, almost up to the top of the range (CC), you may recognize the trend, or perhaps the compulsion, maybe also for economic reasons, why the standardization or uniformity is taking place.
As a further trend, there is the duel, indeed meanwhile a three-part competition, between GM, VW and Toyota, however, in the background there are two further brands with pretty aggressive price politics, Hyundia and Kia. One is going to need more than just a snappy model-strategy to keep them at bay.
In the last few years you will certainly have noticed the incredible number of coachwork variations on offer. They are also calling out for standardization under the bonnet. The disadvantage for the manufacturer: Not all of the models have the same amount of success, they appear, then perhaps dissappear again. After all, each model must be profitable, otherwise it's out.
This coming and going poses a problem for the production. The production lines have to be easily replaceable. In principle, it must be possible to produce a certain model in every system, and in every factory. This also, is a call for standardization.
Apart from the much earlier concieved Toyota, three areas crystallize for the installation of electric motors for hybrid vehicles: 1. Between the engine and the gearbox, e.g., with the transverse engine, 2. the front-wheel-drive becomes an all-wheel-drive through the elelctric motor in the rear, 3. added to the converter automatic (probably only in the luxury class). You can safely assume, that the hybrid-drive, particularly as a plug-in, will be widespread on offer. The achievable CO2 values are simply too tempting, even though in some respects the manufacturers are being given strong incentives by the EU. In the USA, twice as many hybrid- as Diesel powered cars are sold.
There will thus, be further rationalisation. The chassis of the respective vehicle groups will not only be similar, it will be identical, e.g., in the distance between the pedals and the center hub of the front wheels. At the same time, the front and rear overhang, the width, the wheel size, the track width and the wheelbases will be able to be freely designed. 02/12