2016 was a fiscal year of major challenges for Audi, but also a year of key strategic decisions for the future. The company is looking to 2017 with cautious optimism.
With 1.87 million automobiles, the Audi brand increased deliveries by nearly four percent in 2016. In the USA, Audi bucked the trend and was the only brand in its core competition with substantial growth. Worldwide, the brand with the four rings was able to balance out market turbulences and posted growth in all three core regions. The new models were particularly successful sellers: The Audi A4 grew by one-fourth in Europe and is now the market leader in its segment. The Audi Q7 doubled the average annual sales of its predecessor and broke the 100,000-unit mark for the first time. The new Audi A2, Audi Q5 and Audi A5 models rejuvenated the product portfolio. The market introduction of the Audi A8 and the presentation of the Audi A7 make 2017 the Year of the Full-Size Class.
Audi is focusing on new products and technologies with an eye on the year 2025. A veritable electrification campaign is being launched so that by the middle of the next decade, every third Audi customers buys an electric vehicle. Kicking things off in 2018 will be the Audi e-tron, an SUV in the upper mid-size class. By 2020, Audi will have three electric vehicles in the portfolio. From 2021, all core models will be electrified. Digitalization, sustainability and urban mobility are the pillars of the new corporate strategy. Audi is in the middle of its transformation into a digital premium car company offering holistic solutions for individual premium mobility.
88,453 people (as of December 31, 2016) work at the Audi Group – a record number of employees. 43,952 of these employees work at the Ingolstadt site and 16,703 at the Neckarsulm site. The employment guarantee for the German sites is valid until 2020 and is the first step to a comprehensive “Audi.Future” pact that is to include a further employment guarantee until far into the next decade.
Modern forms of working, such as mobile working, digital tools and progressive health management are helping to transform the work environment. There is a focus on tailored qualification measures, particularly in the area of electric mobility. Audi intends to work with its partners to provide the systems required for electric mobility; a quick charger infrastructure is to be established along Europe’s main transportation corridors.
Audi is a leader in highly automated driving. From the key technology piloted driving – which will be available in the new Audi A8 as soon as the legal framework governing piloted driving has been established in the large core markets – to self-driving systems with no steering wheel or pedals: the premium brand is a driving force behind this key technology. To this end, Audi has recently established a separate, independent company called Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH.
An important step in the expansion of its global production network was the September 2016 opening of the most advanced automobile factory in Mexico. The plant in San José Chiapa has since been producing the Audi Q5 for the world market. Besides 12 production locations in ten countries, there is also the Lamborghini factory in Italy, the Ducati motorcycle plant in Italy and two additional Ducati sites in Thailand and Brazil. Both brands posted record unit sales in 2016 (3,457 Lamborghini supercars and more than 55,000 Ducati motorcycles). For 2017, the Audi Group’s Italian subsidiaries plan to introduce the Lamborghini Urus SUV and seven new Ducati models.
- Audi Brussels will become the key plant for electric mobility within the Audi Group. Starting in 2018, the Belgian site will exclusively produce the first battery-electric SUV from the brand with the four rings for the world market. The Brussels site will have its own battery manufacturing facility to support production of the battery-electric SUV.
- In China, Audi began production in 2016 of its first locally built plug-in hybrid for this market, the Audi A6 L e-tron. Four additional e-tron models are to be localized in China over the next five years.
- Audi Hungaria in Győr will begin with series production of electric motors in 2018. The Competence Center for the Production of Electric Motors stands completed; preparations for the start of production are in full swing.
Strong domestic sites are a precondition for international success.
- Audi Ingolstadt is the Audi Group’s largest production facility.Ingolstadt serves as the headquarters, lead plant and high-tech site with electric-vehicle competence.The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron and the Audi A3 Sportback g-tron have been built in Ingolstadt for two years now. In 2017 the Audi A4 Avant g-tron and Audi A5 Sportback g-tron will expand the repertoire of climate-friendly models built in Ingolstadt.
- Ingolstadt is an idea foundry with five sites in the region:
- Audi plant headquarters with Technical Development
- Münchsmünster high-tech production facility
- Audi Neuburg with the Audi driving experience and Competence Center Motorsport/Audi Sport
- Future IN-Campus technology park
- A prime example of the sustainable, intelligent factory of the future, the Audi Smart Factory, is being built at the Ingolstadt site.
- Production is highly flexible, intelligent, connected and ergonomic.
- Audi Toolmaking has as Competence Center for Metal 3D Printing.
- Robots take over certain tasks and support the employees.
- Flexible logistics concepts increase flexibility.
- Startups serve as a bridgehead for creative solutions.
- Modular production is the vision for the post-assembly-line era.
- CO2-neutral production is the long-term objective: clean cars from clean factories.
- Audi Neckarsulm is one of the most complex automobile plants in Europe and one of the sites in the Volkswagen Group with the biggest product diversity. Neckarsulm is the competence center for the development of fuel cell technology, one of the key technologies for the future drive system development. Audi is the lead here within the Volkswagen Group. Hydrogen as an energy source is the next big step on Audi’s electrification roadmap. Lightweight and with attractive system costs, the fuel cell is a real alternative to high-voltage batteries, particularly for larger electric vehicles. Specialists are currently working to establish the competence center at the Neckarsulm site.