|Stainless Audi R8|
For those interested in cars and the car business there has been a lot going on in the past few years, ever since the CEO of Volkswagen Group announced that by 2017 or something like that , they would be the largest car manufacturer, supplanting Toyota auto group. This goal was laid out in approximately 2009 and at the time Porsche looked to buy out the VW group. As it turned out VW Group bought Porsche and made in a wholly owned subsidiary. For some time Audi has been one of the luxury brands, as well as Bentley and Bugatti. Later, Lamborghini was brought into the group and most recently another Italian company Ducati motorcycles. For the complete list check here. http://www.volkswagenag.com/content/vwcorp/content/en/brands_and_products.html
Audi is recognized in the industry as having the most efficient auto manufacturing processes and their brand ranks in the top 5 for quality, so it has been on the list to tour one of the plants. Today was the day. A few years ago I covered the Porsche factory/museum in Zuffhausen, just outside Stuggart. That blog post is on this site as well.The Audi plant we visited is in Neckarsulm, some 60 kms north.
The neat thing about Audi that differentiates it from apparently most if not all other manufacturers is that they can build multiple platform vehicles on the same assembly line at the same time. You have to see it to believe it. Their logistics and automation is truly amazing. You see most other manufacturers have plants or assembly lines designed to handle a particular chassis, and that’s what they build only. Here I watched a 2016 A6 Avant followed by an A7, right wheel drive for Britain and an A4 being built for the America's.
Audi also has apparently become in such demand now that according to the factory guide (who has drank the KoolAid), every car on the assembly line already has an owner. I can attest to this fact from my search for my current car, it was very hard to find one.
This plant in Neckarsulm is situated on the property once owned by NSU (Neckarsulm Strickmaschinen Union or NeckarSulm KnittingMachine Union) and purchased by VW group in 1969. So I can understand where the saying "It runs like a sewing machine" comes from.There is a NSU museum onsite as well as the factory.
|NSU Prinz We saw this car in Canada|
Also since Audi owns Lamborghini and the R8 shares much DNA with the brand new Hurrican there are Hurrican bodies in the body shop before being sent to the assembly plant in Italy. The R8 has most of the 1st floor designated to its 10 year production to date.
|Sandra's favorite, a matte chocolat finished R8 Cabriolet|
|2000 Audi 24 hrs winner of Lemans|
And of course when you take factory delivery of your new Audi you would come to this plant for your scheduled pick up. Unfortunately Audi Canada isn’t on board with factory order/pick-up program, while Audi USA is. Go figure?? But you can see an array of many of the Audi vehicles on display there was well, And bonus, the cars we got to see today are new 2016 models, some of which haven’t reached Canada yet.
The factory plant does not permit photos inside so all photos here are from the show floor.