Production start-up of the Audi A4 marks the beginning of the Group B platform for mid-size vehicles. The Volkswagen Group improves the efficiency of its product and factory structures as well as expanding type diversity by networking platforms. As a result, various models such as the Golf, the Audi A3, the New Beetle, the Skoda Octavia and the Audi TT are built on a common platform. The platform strategy makes a substantial contribution to establishing efficient plant structures. By networking the Group's 16 platforms, whose number is gradually reduced, Volkswagen cuts back development and manufacturing penetration while simultaneously raising product quality and offering customers a more differentiated product range. The platform strategy goes hand in hand with a new procurement policy called global sourcing. The objective of this procedure for purchasing components from all over the world is to establish long-term networking between development, production and logistics operations on the one hand, and low-cost, high performance system suppliers on the other. Procurement no longer involved purchasing individual parts now, complex components and modules are to be delivered just in time.