Striving for perfection: Audi enjoys a worldwide reputation for the best workmanship, superior quality and reliability. The readers of “Auto Bild” magazine voted Audi into first place in the quality category in nine of 13 vehicle classes in 2015. Quality Assurance is organized as a neutral unit and reports directly to the Chairman of the Board of Management. With its headquarters at the Ingolstadt plant, Quality Assurance coordinates and oversees matters of quality at every Audi plant in the world. It is involved in the entire product process – from vehicle development through manufacturing to retail support.
In the vehicle-development process, Quality Assurance is responsible for numerous monitoring and advisory functions. It thus brings product requirements into the vehicle concept at an early stage. In the development phase itself, the components are qualified together with the supplier and are then tested and approved by materials engineering with the latest analysis methods (for example the scanning electron microscope which allows up to 500,000-fold magnification), tested and safeguarded. Whether leather, laminated wood or stain-repellent interior materials – the goal is always to meet the highest demands.
Uncompromising quality in every detail is an obligation for Audi. For this reason, all components receive their finishing touches on a master jig. With this reference tool, all components are perfectly adjusted to each other – and with the use of all senses. The focus is on achieving superior appeal by means of precise radii and panel gaps and clear transitions, as well as surface quality, the tactile quality of components, and the precise functioning of moving parts.
Following the tests of Technical Development, Quality Assurance carries out the so-called safeguarding run. Under highly differing customer conditions and millions of kilometers, it is ensured that each component meets its specifications over the long term and proves its worth in practical use. In addition, pre-production cars are thoroughly tested on public roads in various countries. A model is only released for series production when this procedure has been undergone successfully.
The production process is also systematically accompanied by Quality Assurance with numerous advisory and monitoring functions. For example, cars that have passed through the production process undergo an intensive final quality check at the so-called Checkpoint 8 before being delivered to customers. To ensure that constant assessment criteria are applied here, additional random checks are carried out in the vehicle audit and on the road. In the case of any deviations, controlled loops immediately spring into action to ensure that all automobiles that leave the plant fulfill Audi’s requirements and those of the customers.
As soon as a car is with the customer, service technology specialists accompany the retailers and provide support with vehicle servicing. The knowledge gained flows back into the current series production as well as into the process of developing new Audi models. So Audi puts into practice the basic principle of continuous improvement also in this context.