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U.S. Production for Audi Unlikely Even as Volkswagen Builds a Plant Here

Audi's and Volkswagen's platform strategies are moving in distinctly different directions.

by on Apr.22, 2009


"The industry being redefined." It's also shrinking. Luxury brand sales are off by one-third.

Audi, even though it’s optimistic about its future prospects, hasn’t made any decision yet on whether to build cars at the Volkswagen plant that’s under construction near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi of America, told the Automotive Press Association in Detroit that Audi doesn’t have any plans for using the Chattanooga plant. Audi’s and Volkswagen’s platform strategies are moving in distinctly different directions, making it more difficult to share a plant, he noted.

“We’re not married to a common product with Volkswagen,” he said.

“We haven’t reached any kind of a decision on whether to build cars in (North America),” added de Nysschen. Any final case for a plant in the U.S. would have to consider whether there was enough volume to sustain production and whether it was possible to line up a cost-efficient supply base.

Despite some modest cuts, Audi isn’t about to abandon motorsports, particularly since the company has been well served in recent years by its strong showing at the 24 Hours of LeMans and at the endurance races at Sebring.

This already a tough year since the industry is in the midst of a historic transition, “The industry being redefined,” he said. It’s also shrinking, he said, and more contraction lies ahead.

The luxury segment has already shrunk by one third this year, de Nysschen said. (more…)