Volkswagen will use manufacturing techniques picked up from sister company Audi to cut development times of its new vehicles by up to a year and expand its portfolio while reducing the number of employees at the same time. The claim comes from VW’s new development boss, Ulrich Hackenberg, who spoke recently with Automotive News.

The plan is to adopt module sharing, a practice that Audi uses throughout its entire lineup, known internally as modular-length component sharing. The first example of the new strategy was Audi’s recently revealed A5 coupe, whose platform will also spawn the next A4, A6 and A8 sedans.

According to Hackenberg, VW could produce several new models based on a single platform using shared modules, with designers simply placing a “hat” over the existing architecture. The first VW model utilizing the new design technique should arrive in 2012, and is likely to be the seventh-generation Golf hatch.