Audi May Drop its MLB and Mid-Engine Platforms; Audi R8 Could be Discontinued
Raise your hand if you saw all of this comingby Kirby Garlitos, on
Considering the magnitude and the financial repercussions of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal, there will always be days when the severity of the mess comes to haunt VW. Well, yesterday was one of those days as multiple reports from Germany have indicated plans that could lead sweeping changes to Audi that could dramatically alter the German brand’s fortunes moving forward.
The big news involves Audi’s home-grown MLB platform, which is responsible for underpinning a number of the brand’s current models, including the A4, A7, and A8. Audi has been using this specific platform in different forms and iterations for years now, but because of the Dieselgate scandal, it might be forced to drop its own platform altogether and resort to “borrowing” other platforms from its sister brands. According to Autocar, the next-generation A4 and A5 sedans will start using Volkswagen’s MQB platform while bigger models like the Audi A6 and A7 will be integrated into Porsche’s MSB platform, which the company currently uses on the Porsche Panamera. While these changes are unlikely to make any big differences in the big picture, the same, somewhat heartbreakingly, cannot be said for the Audi R8.
Yes, the R8 is reportedly in trouble. The supercar’s specific mid-engine platform is also likely to get scrapped and there’s a chance that the R8 itself could go with it. Let that sink in. The Audi R8, one of the most popular supercars in the market today, could be an unwitting victim of the Dieselgate scandal. The chickens are coming home to roost. The cancellation of the R8’s platform also raises questions on the future of the Lamborghini Huracán, which also uses the same platform as the R8.
Just like that, Audi is now in turmoil and appears to be paying for the sins committed by its parent company, so much so that according to German business magazine Der Spiegel, no less than Audi chief Rupert Stadler himself reportedly told the company’s staff that “all future investments” are “under scrutiny.”
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Is Audi being sacrificed?
It’s too soon to really tell but based on these reports, it certainly appears Audi is taking a major hit. The loss of the MLB platform is a big blow to the company’s identity because these platforms have always been made exclusively by Audi, even though they do come at the cost of more expenses and resources being thrown their way. On that note, there is a rationale to get rid of the MLB platform if Volkswagen wants Audi to cut the costs of building its cars, unpopular as it sounds to Audi loyalists.
Unfortunately for Audi, the loss of its platforms and the consequences of losing them is just the beginning. Outside of the massive upheaval in production, the Volkswagen Group has also reportedly cancelled plans to build the massive INovation-Campus, a tech campus molded in the vein of tech giant Apple that was supposed to be built inside the automaker’s campus in Ingolstadt, Germany. And to make things more depressing, even Audi’s long and illustrious history in motorsports is now in doubt as the company’s involvement in LMP1 racing is now up in the air as well.
Volkswagen’s brass can say all they want and try to paint this is a positive step for both Audi and the parent company, but you can’t deny that there are some people who are wondering if all of these changes are being made at Audi’s expense. At the very least, it makes you wonder what the priorities are over there at the Volkswagen Group.
Read our full review on the 2017 Audi R8 here.