It wouldn’t take much to get Audi to build a new plant in the U.S., says the maker’s U.S. chief executive, just better sales.
After years of debating whether it needs to put a plant in North America, the Volkswagen subsidiary has finally concluded it’s a good idea, especially considering the impact the strong Euro is having on products imported from across the Atlantic.
But the key to moving ahead on an investment that would likely top $500 million will be to boost sales to a level that can justify a U.S. assembly plant, says Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen.
“We think we’ll be able to reach volumes that facilitate a confident decision about U.S. manufacturing before the year 2015,” the executive explains.
Audi’s confidence reflects its improving fortunes after years struggling to push out of the second tier of luxury brands. While it now rings up global sales close to those of rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz, it only broke the 100,000 mark in the key U.S. market last year. That’s less than half the volume of American luxury leader Lexus.