Audi sets 2015 deadline to decide on U.S. production

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 26, 2011

Audi will make the decision on whether to build cars in the U.S. by 2015, according to a statement from the carmaker. However, Audi is certain that it will expand its production capacity in Europe as it seeks to overtake BMW as the top-selling luxury brand in the world. Audi doesn’t have a factory in the U.S., unlike BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Audi will decide on a possible production site in the U.S. by 2015. Earlier this month, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler told Automotive News Europe on the sidelines of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that Audi sees a lot of sales growth potential in the U.S.

Stadler added that in this scenario, Audi will have to “produce locally in the long term." Stadler emphasized that the company’s plan to double sales by 2018 is unchanged.

Audi’s U.S. sales last year totaled a record 101,629 units. Stadler said Audi aims for this figure to increase to 160,000 by 2015, and that in the long term, it hopes to sell 200,000 units annually.

The German manufacturer may decide to operate its own factory in the U.S. or it may choose to produce its vehicles at parent company VW's factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Audi is set to begin production of the Q3 in the spring at Seat's Martorell plant near Barcelona. This plant is capable of producing 100,000 units of the small SUV annually.

It is easy to identify the Audi Q3 as the youngest member of Audi’s large family. The coupe-like lines suggest its sporty nature. Sharp borders surround arched sheet metal surfaces in an elegant manner while unique lights highlight the front and back.

The headlights that have a wedge shape are offered as an option with xenon plus units as well as LED daytime running lights that are combined with LED tail lights. The roof line that starts to drop quite early plus the exceptionally flat D-pillars enhance the Audi Q3’s dynamics.

Additional parts can be obtained in different variants such as anthracite or black body color. In addition, customers can choose between two exterior packages. Soon, Audi will come out with the base version of the Q3. It has a weight of 1,445 kilograms or 3,186 lbs.

Its occupant cell, which is safe, quiet and rigid, is incorporated with extra-high-strength steels. The tailgate and engine hood are aluminum-made.

Just like other Audi Q models, the undivided tail lights are included in the tailgate that wraps around the pillars. The drag coefficient is remarkably low at only 0.32. The compact SUV has the following dimensions: 4.39 m (14.40 ft) length by 1.83 m (6 ft) width by 1.59 m (5.22) ft height.

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