Volkswagen named most innovative car manufacturer of the decade

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The FINANCIAL — On April 30- evening saw the tenth presentation of the annual AutomotiveINNOVATIONS Awards for exceptional innovative achievement in the automotive industry.

The Volkswagen Group emerged as one of the evening’s big winners, securing the award for “Most innovative car manufacturer 2015” as well as receiving a special award for “Most innovative car manufacturer of the decade”. Volkswagen Group developers also achieved first place in the categories for “Networked vehicle”, “Vehicle concepts”, “Conventional drives” and “Safety systems”. The AutomotiveINNOVATIONS Awards are presented each year by the Center of Automotive Management (CAM) in cooperation with the auditing and consultancy firm PwC, according to the Volkswagen Group.

The Volkswagen Group stands for superior technological expertise and a wide portfolio of innovative brands. This was the conclusion of the latest report by the CAM, which this year again names the Wolfsburg group as the world’s most innovative automotive company. The Group’s innovative strength over the past decade was also commended in the study. The official explanation by CAM and PwC for the award acknowledged that “1251 individual innovations, 212 of which were world firsts, have been developed by Volkswagen in the last ten years. Highlights among these include the XL11, a platform for new technology; the Bugatti Veyron2, the most powerful and fastest production vehicle; Audi’s LED matrix headlights; and the first dry dual clutch 7-speed gearbox to go into series production.”

At the awards ceremony, Professor Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Board Member for Technical Development at Audi and responsible for cross-brand development coordination within the Volkswagen Group, said: “I share this award with the 600,000 employees of all the 12 brands of the Volkswagen Group in Germany and all our locations around the world. They are creating the mobility of tomorrow. It is their high-level technical expertise, great creativity and the excellent quality of their work that make the Volkswagen Group a leading innovator in the automotive field.”

Dr Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Board Member for development of the Volkswagen brand and head of drivetrain development of the Volkswagen Group, said: “The key to a company’s success is its innovative strength. We will continue to extend our technological leadership and meet the technological challenges of the future with sustainable products.”

Volkswagen Group secured the award for best manufacturer in the “Conventional drives” category. Among other things, the study commended the high proportion of engine innovations with start/stop and recuperation technologies that facilitate to reduce fuel consumption by an average of 14 per cent. Moreover, the wide range of efficient engines also finds its way into the Group’s various brands very quickly.

The Volkswagen Group also reaffirmed its pioneering status in the “Safety systems” category, thanks to its numerous driver assistance and safety systems. Many innovations are finding their way into the new Audi Q7, including the avoidance assistant, night vision assist (which recognises animals and people) and cross-traffic assist (which protects the driver from colliding with oncoming vehicles when turning across the flow of traffic and at low speed). Special mention is also made of the current Passat’s highlights, which include the world’s first Emergency Assist system, and the new Trailer Assist, which facilitates manoeuvring with a trailer.

The CAM study also reveals a clear lead of the Volkswagen Group in presenting the most innovations in the “Networked vehicle” category as well. Here the trend has been towards new operating and display concepts, such as the “Virtual Cockpit” in the Audi TT. The control concept vehicle Volkswagen Golf R Touch in which a number of touchscreens replace the conventional controls also came in for praise.

The study also gave a positive rating in the field of “Vehicle concepts / body”. In the current Passat the use of lightweight metals in the bodywork and chassis has yielded savings of up to 85 kilograms in weight. Moreover, the high-strength steels and aluminium used in the Audi Q7 have led to weight reductions of up to 325 kilograms. In the “Vehicle concepts” section the Audi TT Sportback concept car – a mixture between a sports car and a 4-door coupé – was singled out for praise.

The Center of Automotive Management (CAM) in Bergisch-Gladbach (Germany) is an independent institute for empirical research on automotive and mobility issues that conducts extensive studies together with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on an annual basis. This year’s analysis covered 18 global automotive groups with a total of 53 brands. For the past ten years, the CAM has been assessing new developments in vehicle technology to identify future trends and innovation profiles of the global automotive companies across a range of different categories.


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