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Aiming at Tesla, Audi Planning Three Battery-Cars by 2020, CEO Says

Porsche boosts hiring plans for Mission E sports car project.

by on Jul.26, 2016

The Audi e-tron Quattro SUV Concept will be followed by a production model around 2018.

As the brand shifts attention away from its diesel line-up to new, greener technologies, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler wants to have three pure battery-electric models in the line-up by 2020, even if that means dropping some conventional models to come up with the necessary R&D dollars.

Audi has already confirmed plans to launch a battery-electric SUV by 2018 and, in a new interview with German newspaper the Heilbronner Stimme, Stadler confirmed the maker wants 25 to 30% of its total sales to come from electrified models by 2025.

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In the wake of parent company Volkswagen AG’s diesel emissions scandal, Audi and other VW brands have been shifting emphasis to battery-based models. Porsche, which is developing the Mission E electric sports car, said on Tuesday that it now expects to create 40% more jobs to handle that project than originally planned.


Audi Readying All-Electric, 300-Mile e-tron SUV

Battery-ute could be dubbed the Q6, hints German luxury maker.

by on Mar.10, 2015

Audi offers a tease of what may be called the Q6 e-tron, a 300+ mile range battery SUV..

Barely a week after confirming plans to launch the all-electric R8 e-tron sports car at the Geneva Motor Show, CEO Rupert Stadler reveals the luxury carmaker is working on another pure electric model, this one a new SUV that could be designated the Q6.

A teaser image of the electric SUV was presented Tuesday during a corporate briefing in which Audi officials announced they had “delivered more…than promised,” handily setting a new sales record last year. And Stadler made it clear that with the wealth of new products Audi has coming, it expects to set new records.

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During a briefing, he said Audi will add a new Q1 model at the bottom of its SUV spectrum, with a “sporty Q derivative,” the Q8 set to top the line-up. But perhaps the biggest surprise was the announcement that Audi would add a pure battery-electric sport-utility vehicle early in 2018.


Audi Aims to Topple BMW as Luxury Sales Leader

Targets 2 mil annual sales; big surge in new products critical.

by on Mar.12, 2013

Audi CEO Rupert Stalder introducing the A3 e-Tron at the Geneva Motor Show last week.

Fresh off its strongest year ever, Audi AG is taking aim at German rival BMW AG and promising to become the world’s largest luxury automotive brand.

The maker is planning to invest more than $14 billion through 2015 to support its ambitious goals, funding a product program that will cover the increasing breadth of the luxury segment, from the small A3 hatchback to an assortment of new crossover-vehicles, such as the planned Audi Q6, said CEO Rupert Stadler. It also is investing in a number of new assembly plants, including one planned for Mexico.

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“There are years in which to harvest in our industry and there are years in which you sow,” said Stadler at Audi headquarters in Ingollstadt, Germany.  While the cost will be significant, the payoff should come by 2020, when the executive added, “we are preparing to (sell) two million cars annually.”


Audi A3 Sportback e-Tron to Be Maker’s First Plug-in Hybrid

But there’ll be plenty to follow, with a diesel plug-in also under development.

by on Mar.07, 2013

Audi's A3 e-tron will be just the first of a planned assortment of plug-ins to come from the maker.

Luxury automaker Audi has taken the first step in what it promises will be a major commitment to plug-in hybrid powertrain technology.

The new Audi A3 Sportback e-tron making its public debut at this week’s Geneva Motor Show is being billed as the first in a procession of clean, high-mileage PHEVs the Volkswagen AG luxury subsidiary plans to roll out over the coming years. It marks a shift away from Audi’s earlier interest in pure battery-electric technology, company officials insisting plug-ins better meet the needs of today’s motorists.

(Electric) Power to the People!

Using the most sporty of the compact Audi A3 body styles, the new e-tron offers “the power of two hearts,” proclaimed Rupert Stadler, Audi’s CEO, during a Geneva news conference. There’s a 150-horsepower turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four gasoline engine paired with a 100-horsepower electric motor.


Audi Picks Puebla for New North American Plant

Plant will be 40 miles from existing VW factory.

by on Sep.04, 2012

The new plant will build an updated version of the Audi Q5 crossover, starting in 2016.

Audi will build a new “ground-up” assembly plant in the southern Mexican city of Puebla, a factory it will use to supply the U.S. and a number of other markets around the world.

The factory will be located near another assembly line operated by the luxury maker’s parent Volkswagen AG and used to produce vehicles including the latest VW Beetle and Jetta models.  When it goes into operation in 2016, the Audi plant will have the capacity to produce up to 150,000 vehicles annually.

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“We are proud that Audi, a leading European premium manufacturer, has chosen our country as a future production base,” said Puebla state Gov. Rafael Moreno Valle.

Audi has been debating the need for a North American plant for more than a decade.  The issue has been pressed by the maker’s rapidly expanding sales, especially in the Americas, where it long lagged behind better-known German brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz.


Audi Opts for New Plant in Mexico

Anticipates cost of less than $2 billion.

by on Apr.19, 2012

Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler introduces one of the maker's new models.

After years of debate, luxury maker Audi has finally won approval from parent Volkswagen AG to build a new North American assembly plant that could help fuel its record growth in the U.S. and other markets.

But the maker of products like the A6 and Q7 has decided to locate the facility in Mexico, rather than the United States, it has announced.

“As an established carmaking location, Mexico offers an excellent economic basis for Audi production operations,” said Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler. “Mexico is one of the world’s top ten automotive locations and offers a blend of tradition and experience.”

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Mexico now has significantly more production capacity than its own market needs might justify, industry analyst note, and continues to gain more rapidly.  Nissan recently announced a multi-billion-dollar project near Aguas Calientes, with alliance partner Mercedes-Benz considering a nearby site. And Honda earlier this month broke ground on a new plant in the country that will produce the subcompact Fit, among other models.


Audi Acquires Ducati Motorcycles

$1.1 Bil deal positions VW subsidiary as BMW rival.

by on Apr.18, 2012

A Ducati sport bike sits alongside an Audi. It remains to be seen what synergies will emerge.

Audi has confirmed the widely rumored deal that will see it spend an estimated $1.1 billion to acquire Italian sport motorcycle manufacturer Ducati.

The move by the Volkswagen AG luxury brand better positions Audi as a direct rival to BMW AG – as well as Japanese auto and motorcycle manufacturer Honda Motor Co. The acquisition still has to be approved by regulatory authorities in Europe, though Audi indicated it expects the deal to win approval and “be completed as quickly as possible.”

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Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler described the purchase of Ducati as “another building block” in the luxury maker’s growth strategy. Long relegated to the second tier of luxury brands, Audi has been expanding rapidly in recent years and is now in a race with BMW and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz for global sales leadership.


Audi Will Offer e-tron Option on New A3

First plug-in will debut in 2014; other models to follow.

by on Mar.02, 2012

The Audi A3 will offer an e-tron plug-in hybrid option starting in 2014.

Even as the automaker prepares to launch its first U.S. fleet-test of a plug-in hybrid, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler is confirming expansive new plans for a range of battery-based vehicles from some of its smallest to its sportiest offerings.

That electric assault will begin in 2014, Stadler announced at Audi’s annual news conference, when it begins offering a plug-in “e-tron” option for the new A3 subcompact.  The battery-based A3 will begin field testing in four U.S. markets this month, as reported earlier this week. (Click Here for more on the fleet test.)

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Among other models that will get plug-in and other advanced hybrid options are the

Meanwhile, the maker will tap into its Le Mans racing program, where it has long dominated with its Quattro all-wheel-drive and diesel technologies, and where it has introduced a new flywheel-based hybrid system on the R18 race car.  That technology – which stores energy in a fast-spinning wheel, rather than a battery – is expected to show up on a version of the maker’s A4, dubbed the B9, in the next several years, according to Britain’s Autocar.


Audi Reveals New A4 – and Drops a Surprise with Q3 Vail

Compact crossover will reach U.S in late '13 or early '14.

by on Jan.10, 2012

Audi has given a mid-cycle refresh to its 2013 A4 and S4 line-up.

Audi will enter one of the fastest-growing segments of the global luxury market, the maker confirmed during a Detroit Auto Show preview, with the launch of the new Q3 crossover in late 2013.

The maker’s Q3 Vail concept made a surprise appearance during a press event that was supposed to focus on the introduction of Audi’s next-generation A4 and S4 sedans.  But as important as those compact models are, Audi AG CEO Rupert Stadler has described the compact crossover market as the “next pillar” it has to “conquer.”

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Audi has been doing a good job of conquesting buyers in recent years, global sales surging to a record 1.3 million last year, while the Volkswagen AG luxury brand topped 117,000 for an all-time high in the U.S. market.  The production Q3 could be a critical next step in the U.S., in particular.


Ford’s Mulally Becomes High-Tech Guru…?

From aero to auto to high-tech.

by on Oct.08, 2010

Ford CEO Alan Mulally speaks in Paris. He'll soon handle keynote duties at the CES show.

If Alan Mulally decides he’s had enough of the auto industry he could find a new career in high-tech.

The former Boeing chief, now Ford Motor Co. CEO, has been tapped for the third year in a row to serve as keynote speaker at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, which will be held in Las Vegas, next January.

That makes Mulally one of the few speakers ever to three-peat at the event, a short list that until now only included Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

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Mulally will be joined, at CES, by Rupert Stadler, the CEO of Germany’s Audi AG, which recently emphasized its push into electric and electronic technologies with the eTron Spyder concept vehicle, which debuted at this month’s Paris Motor Show.

“This will be the most auto-centric show yet,” said CES President Gary Shapiro.  The annual event is the largest convention held in Las Vegas and typically attracts more than 100,000 visitors.