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Audi Wants U.S. Plant – So Please Buy More Cars

Target date: 2015?

by on Mar.09, 2011

Audi America President Johan de Nysschen wants to open a plant in the States - finally.

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.

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“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.

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Audi Soon to Decide on U.S. Assembly Plant

May be essential for Audi's goal of doubling sales.

by on Jan.14, 2011

Audi will decide whether to build a U.S. assembly plant by year's end, says Jonathan Browning.

Audi is giving serious consideration to adding its own production plant in the United States as part of the Volkswagen subsidiary’s plan to double sales to 200,000 by 2018.

While the German marque has become one of the world’s largest luxury brands – in some markets now leading more established rivals like Mercedes-Benz and BMW – it has continued to lag in the U.S., where it never fully recovered from a safety scandal back in the late 1980s, despite having been cleared by federal regulators.

Jonathan Browning, the new CEO of the Volkswagen Group, the U.S. subsidiary of Volkswagen AG overseeing both the VW and Audi brands, says a decision on the American assembly plant will be made by the end of 2011.

That would finally wrap up an ongoing debate that has spanned more than a decade.  While both Benz and BMW now have major assembly operations in the U.S., Audi has resisted setting up a “transplant” assembly line, in part, because of the limited sales volumes it has achieved in the States.  But critics have argued that the maker is suffering from a chicken-and-egg syndrome and can’t build volume without the plant.

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Playing in favor of setting up a facility, lopsided dollar/Euro exchange rates have made it increasingly cost-prohibitive to import vehicles from Europe, especially smaller models like the popular A4.

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