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 Audi A4 L, Audi A6 L, Audi A6 L TFSIe. the Audi Q5 L and the Audi e-tron. The joint venture’s production operations fulfill the AUDI AG standards 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, with the new Audi A6 L, Audi became the first manufacturer to incorporate lightweight components into the models it builds locally in China.
Completed in late 2013, the FAW-Volkswagen plant in the southern Chinese city of Foshan produces the Audi A3 Sportback, the Audi A3 Sedan and the Audi Q2 L based on the MQB platform. Another localized model rolls off the assembly line in China since 2019: the fully electric Audi Q2 L e-tron*. The new FAW-VW plant in Tianjin produces the Audi Q3 and the Audi Q3 Sportback.
The flexible plant structure allows the gradual expansion of capacity. Audi has a production capacity of over 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.
The Audi transmission plant at Volkswagen Automatic Transmission Tianjin (VWATJ) has been producing highly efficient 7-speed S tronic transmissions for the locally produced Audi models Audi A4 L, Audi A6 L and Audi Q5 L since 2016. VWATJ can produce more than 500,000 transmissions per year at this plant.
Qingdao is the newest branch in the FAW-VW factory family. Opened in 2018, this FAW-VW production site is located in Jimo, about 60 km away from the city center of Qingdao. Its first Audi models produced here are the A3 Sportback and the A3 Sedan.
Besides car production, the branch also has production facilities for high-voltage batteries. The batteries from Qingdao electrify the VW eBora as well as the Q2 L e-tron.
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 over 570 dealerships in over 200 cities.
In addition to the locally produced models Audi A6 L, Audi A6 L TFSI, Audi A4 L, Audi Q3, Audi Q3 Sportback, Audi Q5 L, Audi A3 Sportback, Audi A3 Sedan, Audi Q2 L and Audi Q2 L e-tron, 33 models are available in China as imported cars.
As one of the premium market leaders, Audi continues to set standards for customer satisfaction and was once again the best premium brand according to the J.D. Power Customer Service Index (CSI) in 2020. The 2020 J.D. Power study “Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI)” confirmed Audi as the winner for the eighth consecutive year.
During the epidemic start last year, Audi Training shifted most of the face-to-face activities into online training via WeChat and e-learning apps, aiming for guarantee the high level of customer advice and service of a premium manufacturer. More than 30,000 retail employees took part in online training.
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 China R&D was formally established in 2013 as part of Audi China. From its base in Beijing’s 798 Art Zone, this strategic center develops solutions for the premium segment in fields such as: NEV, autonomous driving, connectivity, digitalization and design. Audi China R&D works to ensure that innovations and technology trends from Asia flow into the concept phase of future Audi AG products.
Audi China R&D brings new technologies and design trends from the tech-forward Chinese market into Audi production models. At CES Asia 2019, Audi introduced its latest-generation Audi connect – an in-car connectivity service which is available from 2020 in the new A4L. That same year, Audi also demonstrated new LTE-based V2X functionality with a predevelopment project showcased at the World IoT Exposition in Wuxi; as well as successfully tested autonomous driving and V2X function integration on a new ‘smart highway’ in Beijing.
Audi China R&D cooperates with local partners like Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent and Huawei. Through these partnerships, Audi China is strengthening its capabilities in big data and in developing intelligent urban traffic solutions. For example, Audi worked with Baidu to integrate its CarLife service; with Tencent to integrate its Tencent MyCar services; and with Alibaba-subsidiary AutoNavi to become the first premium manufacturer in China to offer high-resolution 3D maps.
Another major focus for Audi China R&D is the localization of Audi products. Audi China R&D engineers test the Audi e-tron battery in extreme temperatures from -40°C to 120°C and up to 95% relative humidity, guaranteeing performance even in China’s harshest weather conditions. In 2018, Audi China received two test licenses to test autonomous driving functions on public streets in Beijing and in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi.
Audi China R&D also works with its long-time local partner FAW to localize products. Joint activities include developing special long-wheelbase versions for the Chinese market (Audi A6 L, Audi A4 L, Audi Q5 L, Audi Q2 L) to meet the preferences of Chinese customers, and Audi was the first premium manufacturer to offer a long-wheelbase version explicitly for the Chinese market. The long-wheelbase Audi A6 L TFSIe was also the first locally produced Audi plug‑in hybrid. Series production of the fully electric Audi Q2 L e-tron, which has been tailored specifically to the requirements of Chinese customers, began at the end of 2019. Audi also started the production of Audi e-tron in China from the end of 2020.
AUDI AG aims to reconcile economy and ecology. It takes a transparent approach to operational environmental protection and involves all employees in such activities. This allows the company to sustainably implement its environmental policy objectives. The Audi Production System (APS) has been used intensively for this purpose in recent years as a means of implementing the numerous environmental aspects and Audi’s environmental policy at all levels. Audi’s environmental standards also apply to production in Changchun and Foshan within the framework of the APS.
The so called new Q plant was inaugurated at the Changchun site in 2018. It is equipped with cutting-edge technology. The paint shop, for example, uses the EcoDryScrubber dry separation process. Investments were also made in the existing buildings to help conserve resources. The existing paint shop was converted to use residual heat, with the use of a new dryer saving 18,000 gigajoules of heat. Furthermore, conventional lighting in the production hall is being gradually converted to LED. Audi performed comprehensive thermal insulation measures on 15 buildings. In addition, double-door systems and fast-opening doors were installed to keep heat in the building and thus protect the environment. These measures reduce annual CO2 emissions at the Changchun site by approximately 100,000 metric tons.
The factory in Foshan was built in accordance with strong ecological criteria in mind. Examples include heat recovery, closed‑loop use of process water and integrated recycling. Green spaces are watered using specially treated recycled water from a reverse osmosis system.In 2015, a ten-megawatt solar system was installed on the roofs of its phase-1 factory. Since commissioning, the system has met approx. 5 percent of the phase-1 factory’s annual electricity needs. The paint shop has been using the state-of-the-art E-Cube paint separation system since 2017. This significantly reduces the energy requirement and water consumption compared with conventional paint separation systems. The Foshan press shop uses cutting-edge electric-powered servo presses, which reduces oil consumption and machine wear. Thanks to these and other measures, CO2 emissions at Foshan can be reduced by as much as 26.433 metric tons in total. Waste management was also a focal point for FAW-Volkswagen in 2019. FAW-VW collaborated with its suppliers to develop and implement concepts for waste treatment. One example is the conversion of waste with a high heating value into biofuels. The amount of non-recyclable waste was reduced by 6,000 metric tons (21%) versus 2017.