According to Automotive News, Volkswagen will shave as much as 220 pounds (100 kilograms) from the weight of its seventh-generation Golf by using stronger steel and minimizing the metal content, delivering a 23 percent reduction in fuel consumption. The lighter, more aerodynamic body and a new range of engines will reduce CO2 emissions down to as little as 85g/km.
The new materials and production processes, part of the Volkswagen Group’s new MQB modular manufacturing system, will be extended to more than 40 small and mid-sized models, or about 3.5 million cars. This is part of an effort to cut production costs by 20 percent and manufacturing time by 30 percent.
VW chairman Dr Martin Winterkorn said: “We have been able to reverse the upward spiral in weight: although the new Golf is safer, more comfortable and more spacious than its predecessor, it has been made up to 100 kg lighter and up to 23 per cent more fuel-efficient.
“It was important to us to build the most fuel-efficient Golf ever, which at the same time had to remain affordable. The Golf Mk7 is extremely fuel efficient, equipped as standard with stop-start and brake energy recovery, and yet at a base price of €16,975 not a cent more than its predecessor’s entry-level model.”
Weight reduction has come from optimizing the weight of the body-in-white (-23kg) and modules such as the cross-car beam (-1.4kg), instrument panel (-0.4kg), seats (-7kg) and the HVAC system (-2.7kg). Weight reductions come primarily through greater use of ultra-high strength steel and better structural optimization.
Volkswagen’s strategy favors the use of strengthened steel to reduce overall weight as a cheaper alternative to materials such as aluminum or carbon fiber, as used by BMW for its new electric-vehicle range. Reduced fuel consumption will lower VW’s carbon dioxide emissions. The new Golf will emit 13.9 percent less CO2 per car, equal to about 119,000 metric tons in European markets, it said, aiding compliance with tougher environmental rules.
VW has not said when the new Golf will come to the United States. The current generation Golf will continue to be sold in the U.S. throughout 2013, according to a VW spokesman.