Subject: Platform, what does it mean? Date: 25 Oct 2000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Peter Lines (used and edited without permission, due to changed email address)
"The basic idea behind the concept of "platform" is that the automaker wants to build as many different cars as possible without creating a whole bunch of new parts and a special factory for each one. In the case of a "platform" they are referring to the basic dimensions that make up the unibody or frame. Auto manufacturing engineers would say the car has the same "hard points". This means that during the manufacturing process, the different car's unibodies would be held in a common weld jig, and would travel down the same assembly line, using the same tooling.
With the A4 and Passat, the floorpan of the Passat is stretched by an inch or two, but they fit into the same assembly tooling. They may add different engines of a common family, different suspension tuning setup, etc. to make the car look and feel unique. For example, a Dodge Neon and a Chrysler PT cruiser are built on the same platform, but all exterior sheetmetal is totally
Platform mates may also be indistiguishable from one another - the CaddiPontiaChevrOldsmoBuick contraptions that GM sells are the premier example of this.
VW Group is pretty much the acknowledged king of platform sharing. The thing that makes them so great is not that they get so many different cars out of a single platform, but that all the cars have a unique character."