Nothing hammers home quite how interdependent the current VW stable of manufacturers are than a look at the current users of their larger, so called A-platform. This platform is used by the Audi A3, TT, the Golf of course, the Touran, Caddy, Octavia, Q3, Eos, Skoda Yeti, to name but a portion of the cars dependent upon this platform today.
One the one hand this stresses the industrial nature of the car business today. And on the other it stresses the calculations the industry has does when it thinks about how it is going to work.
You would think that cars based on the same platform would be unappealingly similar, or rather not unique enough to have the range of appeal that these various cars seem in fact to have. Each of the cars mentioned above do however seem to have a unique appeal. Of course they rely on very different aesthetics to get them through, and can be specified almost infinitely.
But the fundamentally Meccano nature of modern motoring starts with platform sharing, and can best be seen at work in two new offerings from the VW stable, the new Skoda Citigo and the Seat Mii.
The motoring press has struggled to distinguish real differences between these models, founded as they are on the original VW Up.
Apart from the Skoda having a few novel interior features, from a photograph and handbag holder which might lead you to surmise that this new car is aimed at women, these cars are the same size and look remarkably similar. They are all powered by a variation on the same 1-litre engine and all weigh in at around 900kg.
What then is the point of having three near-identical models? The reasoning of course is market-research based.
‘The demand for small cars with low fuel consumption, at a favourable price with reasonable operating costs, is growing.’
So says Winfried Vahland, chairman of Skoda, who suggests that Skoda and indeed VW’s growth strategy are to be increasingly founded upon the small-car segment. This as petrol prices continue on their relentless trend upwards and governments, bowing to the green lobby, impose ever more repressive emissions taxes on polluting vehicles.