Choice, bro

The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - LIFE -

It’s fast and classy. but does it out­shine its ri­vals?

We’re all fa­mil­iar with the il­lu­sion of choice – the ap­pear­ance of di­ver­sity but the same hand­ful of op­tions. Hun­dreds of TV pro­grams, noth­ing worth watch­ing. Dozens of phone plans, all alike. White­goods? White noise.

It’s a sim­i­lar deal with cars. There are more than ever to choose from, but how dif­fer­ent are they re­ally? Look un­der the skin and there’s plenty of over­lap. The en­gi­neer­ing be­neath a car – the “plat­form” – is a com­plex set of com­po­nents that’s ex­pen­sive to de­velop. So much so, it’s usu­ally the foun­da­tion for a wide range of mod­els.

Take the Volk­swa­gen Group, which has per­fected this ap­proach: it re­lies on a few plat­forms for a

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