Report: Cost cutting could see Audi drop MLB in favor of other VW Group platforms

2017 Audi Q7

Audi is one of a handful of brands at the Volkswagen Group that still develops its own platforms.

It’s responsible for the MLB platform designed for larger front- and all-wheel-drive vehicles with longitudinal engines, for example the Q7 and A8, as well as the more bespoke platform found in the R8 supercar.

With the cost cutting resulting from the diesel emissions scandal plaguing much of the VW Group, as well as the costly development of new electric cars and other technologies, the days of Audi developing its own platforms may soon be over.

Spiegel on Friday reported that Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, in an effort to reduce costs, wants development of some next-generation models that have traditionally relied on an Audi-developed platform to move to a platform developed elsewhere in the VW Group, namely Porsche.

The German publication listed the A8 as being a prime candidate for the adoption of a platform shared with Porsche and Bentley, in this case the rear-wheel-drive-based MSB that debuted in the 2017 Porsche Panamera and destined for the next-generation Bentley Continental GT and Flying Spur.

2017 Audi R8, Asheville to Daytona part III

Meanwhile, smaller MLB-based models from Audi, such as the A4 and A5, could adopt the MQB platform developed by Volkswagen and already found in the A3. Spiegel also indicated that a next-generation R8 could share a platform with the next-generation Porsche 911 or be phased out altogether.

But it’s not just platforms potentially on the chopping block. Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter, on Monday reported that Audi is dropping plans for new research and development facilities in an effort to reduce costs. Among the projects either canceled or postponed are said to be a test-track for self-driving cars and a center to develop batteries and concept cars. Spiegel also reported that a wind tunnel and crash test center had been postponed.

An Audi spokesman confirmed that an Apple-style technology park at Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany had been postponed for the foreseeable future.

Worryingly, the reports lend some credence to rumors Audi will cease competing in the World Endurance Championship at the end of the 2017 season.

We’ll bring you an update as soon as we know more.