Audi follows a trend set by other OEMs, notably GM, and opens an R&D Center in China. Located in Beijing’s fashionable 751 D-Park , the center will be busy doing product customization for the Asian market, especially when it comes to electronics and connectivity, along with components for new-energy vehicles and efficient powertrains.
Located at the site of an old coal-fired power plant, built in the bad old days with the assistance of East Germany, the 751 D-Park has quickly made a name as China’s fashion and design hub. Audi’s R&D Center is right in the middle of the center. It also helps that the 751 D-Park is in the North-East of Beijing, halfway between downtown and airport, thereby helping to avoid the worst of Beijing’s traffic, as long as one takes a plane.
Approximately a third of Audi’s sales are in Asia, and most of those are in China. If you are somebody in China, you show that with an Audi, preferably an A6 long, and most preferably one with a white tag and a red star. Blinking lights in the front grille help you get back to the airport on time.
Ignoring stories that government officials must eschew foreign premium marques and drive Chinese, Audi increased its 2012 sales in China by 30 percent. TTAC readers, serviced by experienced writers, never had to believe the story anyway. We wrote in February: “Just about every year, there was an announcement that the Chinese government will from now on only buy Chinese. It never happened.” And so it did not happen again.
|Audi Sales 2012|
In November, the New York Times sounded the all clear, and wrote that the black A6 still is “the automobile of choice for practically any party official or military officer with enough clout to secure one.”