Profile of Audi in ChinaBack to overview
The Chinese market has special 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 with the subsidiary Audi China in Beijing, with the joint venture FAW-Volkswagen with headquarters in Changchun, and since 2021 with 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, such as by offering Audi models with extended wheelbases.
AUDI AG is represented in Beijing with its 100%-owned subsidiary, Audi China. More than 600 employees at Audi China coordinate the cooperation between AUDI AG and their 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, and 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 here 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 2022, the brand with the four rings delivered 642,548 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 locations belonging to the two partners, FAW and SAIC: Changchun, Foshan, Tianjin, Qingdao, Anting (Shanghai), and Ningbo – with a production capacity at present of over 600,000 vehicles. With the construction of 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 city 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 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 A3 Sportback, the Audi A3 L Sedan, and the Audi Q2 L based on the MQB platform. The electric Audi Q2 L e-tron has also been rolling off the production line in Foshan since 2019.
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, 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 press shop, body construction, paint shop, 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
Audi and FAW jointly manufacture the all-electric Audi e-tron, Audi Q2 L e-tron, and plug-in hybrid Audi A6 L TFSIe models. In 2022, Audi will expand its portfolio of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to include the Audi Q4 e-tron, which will also be manufactured on site, and the Audi e-tron GT quattro, which will be imported. Together with its partner SAIC, Audi is offering the Q5 e-tron as a market-exclusive model. 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 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.
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. The first charging stations went into operation at the end of 2022. The rollout of more than 600 charging points is planned by the end of 2023. For maximum convenience, the charging stations feature Plug and Charge, which starts charging automatically with no need for app or map verification. Customers can also reserve the charging points, which are integrated in the e-tron models’ route planner, in advance via the myAudi app.
In addition, the brand with the four rings is cooperating with other automotive companies via a third-party charging network operator. Through the joint venture CAMS New Energy Technology Corporation Ltd. (CAMS), in which Volkswagen also has a stake, Audi currently offers its customers over 1,000 quick-charging stations with more than 9,000 charging points for public charging in 140 Chinese cities; the number of CAMS charging points is slated to double by 2025.
Partnerships in sales, marketing, service
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. The FAW Audi Sales Company employs around 800 people.
As of December 2022, Audi is represented in China with a total of 752 dealerships. FAW Audi has more than 630 dealerships. SAIC Audi, which is continuously expanding its presence in China, currently operates more than 100 showrooms. Together with partner SAIC, Audi set up pop-up stores and Audi Urban Showrooms in inner-city locations, which SAIC Audi models being serviced via the existing FAW Audi dealership and service network. Furthermore, a House of Progress was opened In Shanghai in January 2022 as a central brand experience center.
In addition to models that Audi produces locally, nearly 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. The company has embraced an ‘in China, for China’ approach here. 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 (7,175 sq yd) 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.
Plant manager: Gao Dawei, Jörg Menges
Models: Audi A4 L, Audi A6 L, Audi A6 L e-tron, Audi Q5 L, Audi e-tron
Production (2022): 409,930 vehicles
Audi production in Foshan
FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd.
Plant manager: Wang Wei, Holger Nestler
Models: Audi Q2 L, Audi Q2 L e-tron, Audi Q4 e-tron
Production (2022): 37,912 vehicles
Audi production in Tianjin
FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd.
Plant manager: Johannes Marschall
Models: Audi Q3, Audi Q3 Sportback
Production (2022): 77,022 vehicles
Audi production in Qingdao
Location: FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd.
Plant manager: Bruno Torres
Models: Audi A3 Sportback, Audi A3 L Sedan
Production (2022): 69,785 vehicles
Audi production in Anting (Shanghai)
SAIC Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd.
Founded: 2021 (start of production of Audi A7L: September 2021)
Plant manager: Chen Jianfeng, Xu Zhiqin
Models: Audi A7 L, Audi Q5 e-tron
Audi production in Ningbo
SAIC Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd.
Models: Audi Q6 Roadjet