Audi in China

The Chinese market has particular strategic importance for Audi. That’s why Audi cooperates with two partners to produce locally in addition to developing market-specific technologies and managing sales of its vehicles directly in the market. AUDI AG is represented in the world's largest single market by the subsidiary Audi China in Beijing, the joint venture FAW-Volkswagen with headquarters in Changchun, and since 2021, SAIC Volkswagen in Shanghai. As a result of the two-partner strategy implemented in 2021, Audi possesses its largest model portfolio in China to date. With the Audi FAW NEV Company, Audi is laying important groundwork for expansion of the local e-product portfolio and is building a new production plant for all-electric Audi models based on the PPE platform.

Audi in the Chinese market

The history of Audi in China goes back a long way: the company has had a presence there for more than 30 years. In 1988, it began its cooperation with the Chinese automaker First Automotive Works (FAW). As such, Audi was the first foreign premium manufacturer in the market and also the first to adapt its product portfolio to the specific needs of Chinese customers, for example by offering Audi models with extended wheelbases.

AUDI AG is represented in Beijing by its 100%-owned subsidiary, Audi China. More than 600 employees at Audi China coordinate the cooperation between AUDI AG and its partners, the joint venture FAW-Volkswagen with head office in Changchun and – since 2021 – SAIC Volkswagen in Anting (Shanghai). With its two partners, Audi manufactures vehicles at a total of six locations: Changchun, Foshan, Tianjin, Qingdao, Anting (Shanghai), and Ningbo.

One of the main focuses of the company is on the intensification of local research and development activities in order to offer market-specific technologies and products for the Chinese market. Audi China R&D develops models, products, and technologies that are specifically adapted to local customer requirements. Audi places particular emphasis on developing electronics, advanced driver assistance systems, market-specific connectivity features, and extended smart-cockpit features, i.e., intelligent operating and comfort functionalities. To integrate technologies and services from the digital Chinese ecosystem into its vehicles, Audi also enters joint ventures with Chinese tech corporations.

In 2023, the brand with the four rings delivered 729,042 cars in China (Chinese market including Hong Kong).

Audi production locations

As the first premium manufacturer in the market, Audi was quick to embrace local production of market-specific models and brought innovative automotive and manufacturing technologies to China.

Audi models are currently being manufactured at a total of six production sites belonging to the two partners, FAW and SAIC: Changchun, Foshan, Tianjin, Qingdao, Anting (Shanghai), and Ningbo – with a current production capacity of over 600,000 vehicles. With the construction of the Audi FAW NEV Company in Changchun as a new production site for all-electric models, Audi is expanding its capacities by a further 150,000-plus cars in the lead-up to the planned start of production at the end of 2024.

Automobile production in the joint venture with FAW-Volkswagen in Changchun in northeastern China encompasses the four principal areas of car manufacturing: pressing, body construction, paintwork, and assembly.

With the establishment of the Audi FAW NEV Company Ltd., a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility is also being built in Changchun for all-electric Audi models. The plant, which started pre-series production at the beginning of 2024, is being constructed on a site of around 150 hectares and, as the newest production facility, it is setting new standards in terms of digitalization, efficiency, and sustainability. A central IT system that also includes the neighboring supplier park helps in efficiently controlling and monitoring all production steps. The cross-site environmental program “Mission:Zero” sets the parameters for sustainability, ensuring vehicle production will be net carbon neutral. With an annual capacity of more than 150,000 vehicles, the new location will make a key contribution to the further electrification of the Audi product portfolio in China. From late 2024, its production lines will be turning out mid- and top-range electric models based on the PPE (Premium Platform Electric) platform. The Audi FAW NEV Company is the first joint venture with a majority Audi holding in China.

Finished at the end of 2013, the FAW-Volkswagen plant in the southern Chinese city of Foshan manufactures the Audi Q2 L based on the MQB platform and since 2019 the electric Audi Q2 L e-tron. In addition, the Audi Q4 e-tron is produced in Foshan.

Meanwhile, the Audi Q3 and the Audi Q3 Sportback are manufactured at a plant in Tianjin in northern China, which opened in 2018.

At Tianjin, the Audi transmission plant has also been manufacturing 7-gear S tronic transmissions at Volkswagen Automatic Transmission (Tianjin) Corporation Ltd. (VWATJ) for the locally produced Audi A4 L, Audi A6 L, and Audi Q5 L models since 2016.

Qingdao is the youngest location in the production network of FAW-Volkswagen. Opened in 2018, the plant is situated in Jimo, around 60 kilometers from Qingdao. In addition to automobile production with the Audi A3 Sportback and the Audi A3 L Sedan, the plant also possesses manufacturing facilities for high-voltage batteries.

Alongside cars from other Group brands, Chinese partner SAIC manufactures Audi models at two of its plants in Anting (Shanghai). The plant where the Audi A7 L is manufactured covers a total of 448,900 square meters (536,900 sq yd). The manufacturing facility for electric vehicles in Anting has been making an all-electric Audi model exclusively for China in the form of the Audi Q5 e-tron. On a total area of 406,000 square meters (485,600 sq yd), the electric vehicle plant includes production areas such as a press shop, body construction, a paint shop, a final assembly line, and a battery assembly facility.

SAIC manufactures the Audi Q6 Roadjet in Ningbo. The Ningbo plant is located in a developing area located on Hangzhou Bay. It has a press shop, body construction, paint shop, and assembly hall, as well as a technology center, training center, and energy center.

Electrification in China

In 2022, Audi expanded its portfolio of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by including the Audi Q4 e-tron, which will also be manufactured on site. Together with its partner SAIC, Audi is offering the Q5 e-tron as a market-exclusive model. In 2023, Audi introduced the Audi e-tron GT quattro in the Chinese market, which will be imported. As the next step in its electrification strategy, the Audi FAW NEV Company in Changchun will manufacture all-electric medium- and top-range models based on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE). Following the completion of the new plant in late 2024, three market-specific models from the Audi A6 e-tron and Audi Q6 e-tron ranges will be made there initially.

Audi Charging Station in Beijing

To promote the rapid development of a nationwide charging infrastructure, Audi is relying in part on brand-exclusive quick-charging stations, the Audi Charging Stations. In this way, Audi is building a nationwide high-power charging (HPC) network with a top charging power of up to 360 kW and a maximum voltage of 1,000 V. Audi has continued to expand its premium charging network in China, which has grown considerably in 2023 to deliver fast, convenient, and worry-free charging. By the end of 2023, the Audi-branded charging network already has 600 fast charging pillars deployed in over 30 cities across the country, with charging services accessible via its premium digital ecosystem involving the Audi MMI and Audi App. For maximum convenience, the charging stations feature Plug and Charge, which starts charging automatically with no need for an app or map verification.

Partnerships in sales, marketing, service

The global concept Audi Progressive Retail, embodied by a completely new, inviting, and progressive showroom architecture, interactive digital elements, and employees to spark enthusiasm for new technologies, will be gradually localized and rolled out in China and be tailored to Chinese customer demands in digitalization, electrification, and personalization.

With the foundation of the FAW Audi Sales Company, Audi has been consolidating its sales activities in China in Hangzhou in the southeast of the country since the end of 2022. This makes Hangzhou, a dynamic and innovative metropolis with a population of ten million, another attractive Audi location in China. To provide a holistic customer journey in China, the Four Rings have also continuously upgraded their offline touchpoints and expanded their innovative sales setup to deliver a progressive retail experience.

By the end of 2023, FAW Audi has upgraded over 540 4S dealerships in the latest brand design language and opened eight city showrooms.

Meanwhile, SAIC Audi also diversified its network format, establishing the "SAIC Audi Customer Center" to provide users with comprehensive brand and product experiences. Currently, SAIC Audi operates nearly 160 points of sale covering over 80 prioritized premium automotive cities. SAIC Audi's customer journey is flanked by innovative retail formats.

On January 1, 2022, SAIC Audi opened the House of Progress (HoP) in Shanghai, the largest store of its kind in the world: The new flagship store offers a fascinating brand experience on an area of 2,400 square meters. The concept consists of an extraordinary mixture, characterized by art and high-tech. In addition to the experiential character, the House of Progress is also intended to stand for efficient customer service and symbolically demonstrate the quality and customer proximity of SAIC Audi in all phases of the customer life cycle.

In addition to models that Audi produces locally, 30 other models are available in China as imports.

Research and development

Since 2013, Audi has relied on its own local development team in China, which develops market-specific models and technologies.

Audi is continuously intensifying its development activities in China with a clear product and technology roadmap. At the end of 2022, the Audi China development team moved into a new development center in Beijing, the Audi China Building. Located in the Chinese capital’s northern Central Business District, the 6,000-square-meter building houses a design studio, an electronics development laboratory, and predevelopment workshops, among other things. In the development of future technologies, Audi China R&D is investing systematically in the following areas: smart cockpits, local adaptation, and market-specific contents of new electronics architectures, China-specific driver assistance systems and automated driving systems, customized connectivity offerings, and local homologation. In addition, Audi uses synergies within the VW Group in China and works with the corporation-wide Hub CARIAD software hub.

In the areas of connectivity and infotainment in particular, Audi is expanding its cooperation with local tech companies and start-ups. To this end, Audi China R&D is collaborating with leading Chinese tech companies, such as Tencent for integration of WeChat into Audi models. The Android-based open service platform seamlessly integrates apps and WeChat mini-programs into the MMI and allows third-party providers to develop customized WeChat mini-programs for the Audi MMI.

Audi production in Changchun
FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd.
Founded: 1988
Plant manager: Gao Qizheng, Juergen Russer
Models: Audi A4 L, Audi A6 L, Audi Q5 L, Audi Q5 L Sportback, Audi e-tron
Production (2023): 472,435 vehicles

Audi production in Foshan
FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd.
Founded: 2013
Plant manager: Wang Wei, Stefan Depka
Models: Audi Q2 L, Audi Q2 L e-tron, Audi Q4 e-tron
Production (2023): 40,624 vehicles

Audi production in Tianjin
FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd.
Founded: 2018
Plant manager: Dr. André Richter
Models: Audi Q3, Audi Q3 Sportback
Production (2023): 63,713 vehicles

Audi production in Qingdao
Location: FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd.
Founded: 2018
Plant manager: Liu Dong, Bruno Torres
Models: Audi A3 Sportback, Audi A3 L Sedan
Production (2023): 63,897 vehicles

Audi production in Anting (Shanghai)
SAIC Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd.
Founded: 2021 (start of production of Audi A7L: September 2021)
Plant manager: Cheng Liang (Anting plant), Xu Zhiqin, Oliver Wollinsky (MEB plant)
Models: Audi A7 L, Audi Q5 e-tron
Production (2023): 19,281 (Anting plant), 5,506 (MEB plant) vehicles

Audi production in Ningbo
SAIC Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd.
Since: 2022
Plant manager: Chen Jianfeng, Frank Schemmel
Models: Audi Q6 Roadjet
Production (2023): 5,151 vehicles

Audi electric vehicles production in Changchun
Audi FAW NEV Company Ltd.
Founded: 2021; construction started in 2022
Plant manager: Helmut Stettner
Models: all-electric Audi models starting from Audi A6 e-tron and
Audi Q6 e-tron series
Planned annual production capacity: more than 150.000 vehicles