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