Audi’s leadership role when it comes to quality is continually being reaffirmed in surveys, competitions and analysis. It is based on the fact that at Audi quality is not just a company goal, it is a permanent aspect of its corporate culture. It is an attitude and mode of thinking, which is of course firmly established in Quality Assurance, but is equally practiced in all other areas of the company. The central focus here is always the customer; what drives us is the goal of delighting the customer time and time again – this is the challenge we set for ourselves.
The employees of Quality Assurance are involved early in the development process, even while initial sketches of a new vehicle are still being made. They offer input on concepts and work together with Design in the selection of materials. That is, Quality Assurance continually supports the entire development process – always driven by the goal of implementing what has been learned, letting experience flow into the process and perfecting the product in its creation phase. That is because early actions are the best way to avoid late changes, and as Werner Zimmermann, Head of Audi Quality Assurance, says: “To save on quality is always the most expensive solution.”
Countless laboratory tests in the qualification and release of new materials, components and production processes reflect the high standards that Audi sets for itself. In this process, the most advanced analytical methods are applied, such as computer tomography, but this process always involves people as well.
Touch, odor, color impression – these sensory perceptions are what always counts here in addition to measuring instrument findings, because quality can be seen, sensed, smelled and heard. As impressive as the measured values may seem to be – if the sensory perception is not right, then the quality is not right for Audi either.
At Audi, quality is not only an attitude and way of thinking – it is also a management priority. Quality Assurance, which employs over 2,000 people, assumes the role of a neutral party within the company. It reports directly to the Chairman of the Board. Weekly reporting and short organizational paths to the highest decision-making levels ensure that quality is always a focal topic of interest and that decisions can be made quickly and with sustained impact. This strong position guarantees that Audi Quality Assurance can fulfill its role – without restrictions – as the “advocate of the customer” within the company.
“Quality means continually raising the bar a bit higher – that is what defines Audi.” Once again, the new Audi A3 is proving out this philosophy. It sets new benchmarks in its class, especially in the interior, with regard to its styling impression and material selection.
High-end surfaces, complex accents, the customary perfect fit of components, painstakingly tuned actuating forces and full acoustic and tactile feedback of controls – all of these define the new A3 together with the additional supplemental new functions and features such as virtually draft-free air vents, a retractable monitor that is unique in this vehicle class, MMI touchwheel and numerous new infotainment and assistance functions.
These features are is all packaged within a sheet metal skin that redefines the limits of sheet-metal forming with its intelligent material mix of various steel and aluminum alloys. Well-defined edges, small radii and once again the perfect fit of components – this is the Audi quality that our customers have come to appreciate and expect.
New, more efficient engines, highly advanced assistance systems and infotainment technology from the luxury class must all prove their reliability – even in the compact class.
The A3 has been driven a total of 11.2 million kilometers (6.96 million miles) in 10 countries. Its reliability has been put to the test under extreme conditions – in the heat of the Mojave desert and in the extreme cold of Scandinavia. The new efficient engines were subjected to extreme loads on the German Autobahn as well as in the stop-and-go traffic of Chinese megacities, and they have proven themselves.
Customer-oriented validation on public streets gives models from Audi their finishing touches, because this process further refines car details long after their functionality has been put to the test by Development. Only after all of these optimizations have been completed does Quality Assurance recommend release of a new product.
The equipment, data, and prices specified refer to the model range offered in Germany. Subject to change without notice; errors and omissions excepted.