Audi Might Produce in America Sooner
Audi wants to stop its foot-dragging and make a decision about U.S. production soon, reports Automobilwoche [sub]. Until recently, this discussion had been shelved until 2015. But apparently, Volkswagen’s financial planners fear a stronger euro and a weaker dollar.
The factory could be an extension of Chattanooga. A standalone plant is also possible. More dealers are also planned.
China remains Audi’s growth central. Audi chief Rupert Stadler is not worried about a Chinese bubble and shows confidence into Chinese planners: “In the last decades, China always managed to put its five year plan into practice, and to generate 8 percent growth. I assume they will continue doing that.”
He’s more worried about other unnamed countries: “Growth built on debt is not good.” Who is he talking about?
If the Euro/Dollar exchange rate stays in the range it has been in these last couple of years it makes a whole lot of sense for any European brand to manufacture cars in the US, especially if they sell cars in the US. The problem for (German) premium brands is of course that their premiumness might be questionned when they're no longer produced in Germany and sometimes rightly so (I'm looking at you, first gen Mercedes ML). If they can overcome that problem though there's a lot of cash to be saved.
Regarding Audi and any possiblity of setting up operations in the lamentable state of Michigan: Borrowing the words of my favorite president, Audi is 'not gonna do it.' That dog, as they say, don't hunt. For the incognizant....VW spend some serious coinage to move their NAHQ OUT of Auburn Heights, Michigan not long ago....it was one of the (almost) too numerous to count business relationships and negotiations which were bungled, mismanaged, destroyed.... pick your verb... by the Jenny Granholm administration in Michigan....this clueless wench set the Michigan business climate back 80 years.
Not sure how this could work out. The new Jetta is larger but cheaper (price and materials) than hitherto. Is it still made in Mexico? Next years' "American" Passat will be both larger and cheaper dollar-wise (and certainly less attractive) than the current iteration. Whether it too will have a "cheap" feel I haven't heard. I've read that the German auto workers average $100.00 and hour, whereas the Americans will work for 15 dollars. Surely that's more than the Mexicans, but maybe paying off the drug lords down south has to be factored into the equation. Whatever they do, they should keep the current VW stylists away. Whatever could VW be thinking with their new designs?