Thursday 26th of November 2015

While Volkswagen Group vehicles can be appreciated for their ergonomics and technology, the latest production products under the German company are not held in high regard for quality. Volkswagen and their premium sister brand Audi routinely rated below the average on the JD Power & Associates Initial Quality Study. However, for Volkswagen and Audi owners, this reality is one challenged aggressively by loyal motorists who are simply accepting their enchanted infatuation with a vehicle.

Affecting 13,172 vehicles built by the German auto company built from June 21st 2011 to December 9th 2011, the concern over the glass sunroof equipped on certain Audi Q5 crossovers. Through temperature changes, it was determined that the front glass roof panel could be prone to unexpected breakage. Caused through extreme variations in hot and cold temperatures, the glass can crack or even break. Resulting in a shattered glass sunroof, the falling pieces can potentially cut an occupant inside the Q5 crossover. If the sunroof breaks while the vehicle is in motion, chards of glass could distract the driver and cause a serious accident.

Volkswagen will contact owners of affected 2012 Audi Q5 vehicles and provide a free replacement glass sunroof panel. The service of this recall will take place in a little more than a month’s time on or about August 7th of this year.

The Audi Q5 recall is the fourth time the Volkswagen Group brand needed to correct an issue on a 2012 model year vehicle. A fuel issue on the TDI-powered A3, a potential head curtain airbag defect on the A6, and a possibility of a fuel leak on R8 Spyders brought Audi products back to dealerships for otherwise unscheduled service. In the case of the Audi A3 Clean Diesel TDI, the recall came after 2010 to 2012 model year vehicles and similar Volkswagen Golf models were investigated by the NHTSA for a leak.

The issue of recalls are usually thought to surround heavily mass-produced common automobiles or heavily high-tech cars. The Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt and the Fisker Karma are a few vehicles found on recall list at one time in 2012. However, Porsche’s new, highly-developed 911 sports car was one exotic car that demonstrated the complex construction of a vehicle is a product that requires special dedication to achieve greatness. Even with the Audi Q5 crossover recall, a frank, meaningful response demonstrates the first step to achieving quality.

Information source: NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
Photo source: Audi AG

It used to a reality that a vehicle could be accurately identified towards a country. Volvo as well as Saab was almost completely produced in Sweden, Honda manufactured their vehicles exclusively Japan and an Audi was built in Germany. Looking to exploit the best of the world, globalization has caused the brand identity trend to take an international tone. To better control cost and supply in the North American market, many automotive brands once accepted as imports have located production onto the continent. For a little over a decade, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have grown assembly plants for the American-friendly crossover vehicles. A winning formula for those premium automotive companies, speculation has surrounded Ingolstadt-headquartered Audi AG looking at expanding their manufacturing capacity onto United States soil.

Confirmed by trade publication Automotive News, Audi is currently exploring prospects of producing at least new one vehicle stateside. In the article posted on July 11th, Audi Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler stated, “It is totally clear that we need new production capacity in the U.S.,” claiming it is a only a matter of time. These words followed Stadler’s 2010 projection for Audi to sell as many as 1.5 million vehicles worldwide by the 2015 calendar year. Parent brand Volkswagen could lure Audi to their new Chattanooga, Tennessee manufacturing facility. The Chattanooga complex has currently started production of the new Volkswagen Passat.

At that time, the Audi CEO stated production inside of the United States of America was not necessary to meet their sales target. Admitting there is a strong chance for a new assembly plant in North America; Audi has since indicated the United States may not be the exact location for future production. Audi could be more inclined to assembling their vehicles in Mexico favouring lower labour and operation costs. It was also reported by the Toronto Star that the Canadian province of Ontario plans to mount a bid for a potential manufacturing facility.

More recently published rumours mention the Audi Q5 is a likely candidate for North American production. Through the 2009 and 2010 model year, the Q5 compact crossover vehicle has been the Audi range’s 2nd highest selling product in the United States market behind the A4. Audi has previously dismissed any notion of producing vehicles specific to the United States as not being in the company’s interests.

Any decision made about potential United States production is expected ahead of 2015. Audi already assembles cars in Hungary and India assembly plants. Between 1987 and 1998, Audi had also previously constructed cars in Japan aligned with Hino Motors Limited.

Information source: Audi AG, Automotive News, Toronto Star
Photo source: Chris Nagy