Research and development activities in the Group again concentrated on two areas in 2011: expanding our product portfolio and improving the functionality, quality, safety and environmental compatibility of Group products.

One task of research and development is to advance the electrification of our vehicle portfolio. The Group function created in 2010 to manage and coordinate all activity surrounding at Volkswagen intensified its work in 2011. Its goal is to achieve the greatest possible synergies for all Group brands in the area of e-mobility.

Although public discussion on the topic of climate change and the ever-tightening sources of fossil fuel have moved somewhat into the background recently, Volkswagen is keeping the reduction of CO2 emissions in view as it expands its model range. Our results in this area over the past year are impressive. Compared with 2007, we have been able to decrease the average CO2 emissions of our fleet by 27 g/km; this corresponds to a reduction of more than 16%. The Volkswagen Group currently offers a total of 281 model variants that emit less than 130 grams of CO2 per kilometer. Of these, 151 model variants are below 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer. For 26 model variants, we are already below the threshold of 100 grams of CO2/km.

Number of vehicles

CO2-emissions – Status quo (bar chart)

Innovative products for the automotive future

During the reporting period, the Audi brand received the “Best Innovator Award” presented by the German business magazine “WirtschaftsWoche” and management consultant A.T. Kearney. The brand’s successful and sustainable innovation management won over the jury in the Automotive category. In particular, the brand was honored for its ability to successfully link innovations across models and series, and to implement them at an astonishing speed.

In the following paragraphs we present selected inno-vations – new models, powertrains and systems launched during the past fiscal year.

At the heart of the innovations to the Volkswagen pas-senger car brand in 2011 was the introduction of the new up! that expands the brand’s offering to include a small car. Its completely new 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine offers driving pleasure in a compact design with two performance levels, and already fulfills the new Euro 5 emission standard. In combination with BlueMotion Technology, it achieves a CO2 emission level of 96 g/km. An additional highlight in the up! is the automatic city emergency braking feature, which is designed to prevent rear-end collisions in urban areas at speeds of up to 30 km/h. Assisted by a laser sensor that detects and analyzes the traffic ahead, the vehicle automatically brakes to a stop if the traffic situation demands it and the driver does not react accordingly. In the interior, the “maps + more” system combines typical car radio features with the versatility of a portable navigation system. It is detachable and offers the driver extra features in addition to the classic infotainment functions such as Bluetooth telephony, a display of optical warning signals from the ParkPilot and the consumption monitor.

Available on the Golf Cabriolet for the first time is automatic rollover protection, allowing the rollover bar to be eliminated. The soft top opens fully automatically in a little over nine seconds, even while underway at speeds of up to 30 km/h.

The redesigned Tiguan came onto the market in 2011 with a multitude of driver assistance systems. In addition to the camera-based main-beam systems Light Assist and Dynamic Light Assist, the SUV features a fatigue detection system that continuously monitors driver behavior and warns the driver when fatigue is recognized. The Tiguan is also equipped with the latest generation of Parking Steering Assistance, which can take over parking into both parallel and perpendicular spaces. The optical parking system 360° OPS offers additional assistance for manual parking or maneuvering. In contrast to the earlier version, the system will now give warning for objects in the side areas in addition to the front and rear areas.

The Audi brand entered a new market segment in 2011 with the Q3, a premium SUV in the compact class format. The sporty premium SUV with the feel of a coupé weighs only 1,445 kg in the base model and, in addition to its extensive standard equipment, features a series of driver assistance systems that is unparalleled in its vehicle class: the parking assistant with surrounding area display and rear view camera aids the driver in many types of situations. The car selects the parking space and steers and brakes the vehicle within the limits defined by the system. The driver needs only to watch over the parking process. Audi side assist makes changing lanes easier through radar, Audi active lane assist helps the driver stay in the lane, and the speed limit display shows important road signs detected by the vehicle.

The seventh generation of the Audi A6 again sets new standards in 2011 with its broad portfolio of innovations and lightweight body design. Thanks to a clever hybrid construction of aluminum and high-tech steel, the car’s body weighs in at about 30 kg less than the previous model. Audi optionally offers a head-up display that projects important information onto the windscreen. The A6 is connected to the Internet via a UMTS module and can, for example, display images from the Google Earth service on the navigation screen. The customer can also use other innovative online services like Google Street View and online traffic information in the vehicle.

With the Citigo, a sister model of the Volkswagen up!, the ŠKODA brand expanded its product offensive into the small car segment in 2011. The car, whose front end has the brand’s usual design, features many “simply clever” details in addition to the new automatic city emergency braking system. Additionally, the infotainment systems were upgraded across the entire model series.

SEAT pushed ahead into the small car segment during the period with the Mii, also a sister model of the up!. The car’s appearance is consistent with the sporty design DNA of the Spanish brand. The model includes the emergency braking system and the removable SEAT portable system, which intelligently combines navigation functions with other applications such as infotainment. Additionally, LED technology is now used in the lighting systems of many of the brand’s models.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles celebrated the premiere of the new Multivan BlueMotion in 2011. With a consumption of 6.4 l of diesel per 100 km and CO2 emissions of 169 g/km, the van achieves levels unimaginable in this class before now – thanks to an efficient, high-torque common rail four-cylinder engine in combination with a stop-start system, regenerative braking, extra low rolling resistance tires and special aerodynamic features.

In 2011, Scania celebrated the world premiere of the new Euro 6 generation of engines. These engines stand out with a multitude of innovative technical solutions and significantly reduced emission levels.

The MAN brand concentrated its research and development activities in the area of hybrid technology in a newly created Competence Center during fiscal year 2011. It will form the future interface for cooperation partners, suppliers and other sources of expertise such as universities, and will focus on the application of technology in different product segments – from research through to series development.

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