To reach its targeted production rate of ten million vehicles per year by 2018 Volkswagen will be implementing several major revisions to its current platform designs to help reduce development costs. VW is developing four new architectures that will eventually spawn vehicles for most of the VW Group brands, including new designs for Lamborghini, Audi and Bentley.

The first new platform will be a transverse-engine architecture dubbed the ‘MQB’, which will be used for small-lower-medium and upper-medium models. This architecture could eventually be used for over six million vehicles, making it the automotive industry’s biggest platform.

“MQB is planned for a broad application, from small cars up to and including upper-medium,” VW exec Ulrich Hackenberg told Automotive News Europe. “The first model to emerge can be expected in 2010.”

The second major platform introduction is the ‘MHB,’ which will be used for VW’s new minicar range including production versions of the up! concept car.

Another platform is being developed for VW Group’s future premium mid-engine sports cars. It will eventually be used for the next-generation Lamborghini models and possibly even a more affordable Bugatti.

The fourth and final new platform is already on the road in the form of the new A4/A5 models. The ‘MLB,’ as it’s known, features a longitudinally mounted engine for front-drive and all-wheel-drive applications. MLB will be used for the next A6 and A8 models as well as a new Phaeton and Bentley lineup.

By sharing these basic structures and components, development cost savings are estimated to be as much as 40%.