Audi has a worldwide reputation for the best workmanship, superior quality and maximum reliability. The readers of “Auto Bild” magazine voted Audi as number one in nine of 13 vehicle classes in 2015. Premium quality is not just an abstract motto at Audi, it is a guiding principle of our corporate culture. It is firmly established in every department and is the goal of each Audi employee. As a neutral unit, Quality Assurance 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 development through automobile manufacturing to dealership support.
During the vehicle‑development process, Quality Assurance takes over numerous monitoring and advisory functions as “the customer’s advocate.” It thus specifies product requirements at an early stage during the vehicle concept phase. In the development stage, QA and suppliers jointly approve all components. And in the material engineering labs, state-of-the-art analysis methods such as the raster electron microscope with up to 500,000‑fold magnification are used to scrutinize and verify components. Whether natural leather, aluminum, laminated wood or stain-resistant materials for vehicle interiors, satisfying the highest expectations is always the goal.
Uncompromising quality in every detail is a must at Audi. A master jig is used to check the fit and finish of every component. This reference tool helps ensure that all components interface perfectly with one another – on the car body as well as in the interior. Audi specialists focus on many criteria: premium appearance thanks to precise radii and gaps, clear seams between panels, appealing surfaces, tactile impressions and the precision of moving parts.
Technical Development’s endurance testing is followed by the safeguarding run carried out by Quality Assurance. Under the most diverse real‑world conditions and over millions of kilometers, endurance testing verifies that every single component will meet the requirements over the long term and will perform as desired in practice. Pre‑series cars are exhaustively tested on public roads in various countries under all imaginable conditions – freezing cold, constant rain or chronic stop-and-go traffic. An Audi automobile can only be approved for series production after successfully passing through this procedure.
In parallel, a car lifetime of twelve years is simulated in 19 weeks in the corrosion and aging test in Ingolstadt: high humidity, heat and cold in climate chambers as well as gravel, mud and salt on the test tracks. After this rigorous test, the Audi models are completely dismantled and examined for corrosion, aging and wear.
In addition, Quality Assurance systematically monitors the manufacturing process with numerous advisory and monitoring functions. For example, cars which have passed through the production process are subjected to a rigorous final inspection at the so-called Checkpoint 8 before being shipped to dealerships. To ensure that the same standard of assessment is always applied, spot checks are conducted during vehicle audits and road testing. In the case of any deviations, appropriate feedback control systems immediately initiate countermeasures to ensure that every single Audi that leaves the assembly lines satisfies our expectations and those of our customers.
As soon as a car is with the customer, service technology specialists accompany the dealership and provide support with vehicle servicing. The knowledge gained flows back into the current series production as well as into the development of new Audi models. So Audi makes sure that the basic principle of continuous improvement is applied also in this context.