Audi gets spicy new location

2013-05-06 10:52

SAN JOSE CHIAPA, Mexico - Outside this small, dusty town in the heart of Mexico, Audi is making history as the first German luxury brand to set up a complete car plant in Mexico.

The Detroit News has reported that Audi is determined not to suffer quality issues in Mexico such as those experienced by rivals BMW and Mercedes who chose North America for their assembly operations. It has begun an elaborate training programme, three years before the plant, involving an investment equivalent to about R11.6-billion, starts production in 2016.


Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, the DetNews reported, explained how the factory would become the brand's 13th foreign production facility and would supply markets globally. "Mexico was chosen very deliberately. In strategic terms, this country is the linchpin between North and South America. With more than 40 free-trade agreements, this country is an ideal export base,” he said.

The automaker bought the 400ha site in September 2012 and is enhancing existing infrastructure, including road and rail connections. When at full capacity in 2016, the plant will produce 150 000 of the next generation Q5 SUV.

Audi expects to generate 3800 jobs at the plant and 15 000 jobs at a nearby supply park near where VW has a major factory. According to the Detroit News the automaker will spend the equivalent of about R133-billion in supplier contracts for the Q5.

As the biggest profit generator in the VW Group worldwide, Audi has set ambitious growth goals. Stadler said: "By 2020 we anticipate annual shipments of more than 300 000 cars in the whole of North America, including more than 200 000 in the US, so by 2020 every seventh Audi from our worldwide production will be sold in the northern half of this continent.

"Then, we will have achieved our target and strengthened America as the third pillar of our unit sales alongside Asia and Europe.”