It was quite a coincidence when, just last week, Audi restated its interest in US production facilities on the same day that the UAW announced it was in talks to possibly organize VW’s new Chattanooga plant. At the time we noted that
With Audi execs insisting on the need for more US production capacity, a UAW win in a Volkswagen vote could have serious implications for the firm’s future expansion.
Turns out, it didn’t even have to come to a vote. Just over a week after CEO Rupert Stadler insisted that “It is totally clear that we need new production capacity in the U.S,” Audi has suddenly decided that things look nicer in union-free Mexico. Automotive News [sub] reports that Stadler wants a new Mexican plant to build the Q5 SUV, but notes that
it was still unclear if Stadler would have his way in the face of opposition from some of Volkswagen’s top managers, who wanted Audi to make use of the new VW plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Did the UAW’s sudden announcement that it was in talks with VW’s global works council about organizing Chattanooga have anything to do with the decision? AN [sub] won’t say, but the timing can’t be ignored. Audi’s US production may just have been the first victim of the UAW’s transplant organization campaign.