The production of automobiles by the joint venture in Changchun includes the four major areas of car manufacturing: press shop, body shop, paint shop and assembly. The plant currently produces the models Audi A4 L, Audi A6 L, Audi A6 L e-tron, Audi Q3* and Audi Q5*. Production at the joint venture meets the standards set by AUDI AG for all of the company’s plants worldwide. Audi had already brought state-of-the-art automotive and manufacturing technology, such as laser welding and hot-wax flooding, to China in the late 1990s. In 2012, the brand with the four rings was the first car manufacturer to integrate lightweight components into local production with the new Audi A6 L.
Completed in late 2013, the FAW-Volkswagen plant in the southern Chinese city of Foshan produces the Audi A3 Sportback* and the Audi A3 Sedan*. It is the first plant in China to build models based on the new MQB platform.
The flexible plant structure allows the gradual expansion of capacity. Audi has a production capacity of 600,000 vehicles in China. Over the next few years, Audi and its partner FAW-Volkswagen can flexibly increase capacity to over 700,000 units as a function of market demand.
Audi sales and marketing
Audi vehicles are sold in China through an exclusive dealer network. Sales operations are managed by the Audi Sales Division (ASD) at FAW-Volkswagen and encompass roughly 480 4S dealerships in more than 200 cities.
In addition to the locally produced models Audi A6 L, Audi A6 L e-tron, Audi A4 L, Audi Q3*, Audi Q5*, Audi A3 Sportback* and Audi A3 Sedan*, 38 additional models are available in China as imported cars.
As the premium market leader, Audi continues to set standards for customer satisfaction. The brand with the four rings was once again the best premium brand according to the J.D. Power Customer Service Index (CSI). The 2017 J.D. Power study “Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI)” also confirmed Audi as the test winner for the eighth time in a row.
As in the preceding years, Audi once again conducted extensive training and qualification measures in 2017 to guarantee the high level of customer advice and service. More than 20,000 retail employees took part in classic face-to-face training. Audi also provides employees of the Chinese dealerships with access to an innovative e‑learning platform available at any time on WeChat and to special training apps. The Audi Sales Division operates the world’s two largest Audi Training Centers in Beijing and the western Chinese city of Chengdu.
Research and development
Audi R&D Beijing was established as part of Audi China in 2013. The development center in China’s capital city is part of the global Technical Development division of AUDI AG. The engineering teams work closely with customers in Asia on regional product modifications. The products are then tested in the local market. Furthermore, the R&D employees ensure that innovations and trends from Asia flow into the concept phase of future AUDI AG products. All areas of the global Technical Development division of AUDI AG are represented at Audi R&D Beijing. The development center is located in the Audi China building in Beijing’s 798 Art Zone. Designers at Audi R&D Beijing create China-specific designs and concepts, and collaborate closely with the headquarters in Ingolstadt.
In the battery testing laboratory, extreme temperatures from minus 40 to plus 120 degrees Celsius and relative humidity of up to 95 percent can be simulated. The battery for the Audi A6 L e-tron developed for China is also tested here.
Engineers use a special test stand to work on driver assistance systems, including piloted driving. In 2015, during the first Consumer Electronics Show Asia (CES) in Shanghai, Audi became the first premium manufacturer to demonstrate the traffic jam pilot in everyday road traffic in the Chinese metropolis.
Audi R&D Beijing collaborates with strong local partners. Memorandums of understanding have been signed with Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent to strengthen collaboration in the areas of data analysis, establishment of an internet-vehicle platform and intelligent urban traffic. The strategic partnership with Baidu integrates the Chinese internet company’s popular CarLife services into the car. Audi is working with Tencent to integrate Tencent MyCar services, such as location sharing, into Audi models. The brand with the four rings worked with Alibaba to become the first premium manufacturer in China to offer high-resolution 3D maps. In the area of data communication, Audi cooperates with telecommunications equipment supplier Huawei and the mobile network operators China Mobile and China Unicom. Audi engineers are also working with local companies on the development of lithium ion cells and modules for the Chinese market and on the integration of local wireless charging solutions.
Since 2008, Audi engineers in Beijing have been developing infotainment solutions for automobile customers in China, Japan and South Korea, including a touchpad for entering handwritten Asian characters into the navigation system.
Together with its Chinese partner FAW, Audi has been active in local automobile development in China for 29 years now. These activities include country-specific trials based in part on local geographic requirements, such as desert worthiness. The joint venture is also involved in the prequalification and testing of locally sourced parts.
Special long-wheelbase versions for the Chinese market (Audi A6 L and Audi A4 L) were also developed in close collaboration with FAW. The additional space in the back addresses the preferences of Chinese customers. Audi was the first premium manufacturer to offer a long-wheelbase version explicitly for the Chinese market. The long-wheelbase Audi A6 L e-tron is the first locally produced Audi plug-in hybrid.