Volkswagen leans towards building new plant in Mexico vs. US for Audi

Article by Christian A., on April 17, 2012

Volkswagen Group is favoring the construction of the North American assembly plant in Mexico for its luxury Audi brand rather than in a site at its Chattanooga manufacturing complex in the U.S., a source from VW revealed to Automotive News' sister publication Automobilwoche.

The new factory will be manufacturing the second-generation Audi Q5 SUV and is set to commence production in 2015. Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler at Audi has pushed for Mexico while the VW executives are leaning towards a U.S. site, Automobilwoche reported. The supervisory board at VW will meet on Wednesday to make a final decision.

A U.S.-based spokesperson for Audi related that the matter is now up for review by the board. He further stated that from that point, the matter can take "a lot of different directions." He explained that the supervisory boards at VW Group and Audi must approve the decision. The spokesperson did not disclose further details. Official at VW have constantly reiterated that a decision on the North American operations would be made this summer and publicly have weighed the cons and pros of Chattanooga and Mexico.

The Chattanooga factory is where the company manufactures the VW Passat. It is less than a year old, has plenty of room for expansion and is near a supply base.

Furthermore, VW Group's head of manufacturing Michael Macht said in February through Automotive News Europe that the "Made in U.S.A." label is vital to the automaker. Macht also said that Mexico has advantages and one of these is that the company can avoid the 10% duty levied on automobiles made in the United States and shipped to Europe. VW has a factory in Puebla, Mexico, where it manufactures the Jetta and Beetle.

The defining characteristic of the Audi Q5 remain to be its athletic dimensions. With the use of the flowing lines and combined with the sports sculpted surfaces, the body gets the appearance as if it was molded from a single unit. Just under the side windows is a tornado line which managed to give the area above its wheels those sharp edges.

As an Audi Q model, it has that standard design feature of the tailgate wrapping on the body. One change in the new Q5 is that the headlights now give it a firmer appearance. By adding in the xenon plus lights, an optional feature, this allows the daytime running lights, which uses LED, to get that slender and visually uniform ring. This form almost follows the headlight unit’s whole outer curve.

Additionally offered as an option for the new Q5 is what is known as the adaptive light. When fitted in this new model, it allows the static turning light to be integrated with the dynamic cornering light. Meanwhile the lights at its rear section are undivided. As mentioned earlier, there are LED strips which not only wrap around this area but provide an excellent interplay with the front’s xenon plus headlights.

In many models, one issue is that when the tailgate is opened, it becomes impossible to see the tail lights. Thus for the Q5, lights have been placed on its bumper. Looking at the Q5, it is clear that the design brings with it some unique features. Its front section is not only wider but has been made lower. For the single-frame grille, it is still in high-glass black but this time, it has six corners.

This grille also has that sculptural look especially with the Audi rings and the vertical chrome bars. New as well is the bumper which manages to put high-gloss black inserts on the large air inlets. The fog lights are still there and this time around, they have those ring surrounds in chrome. Even with the redesign, the dimensions of this new model are almost the same as that of the prior generations.

Overall length is at 182.24 inches (4,629 mm) with total width of 74.72 inches (1,898 mm) and height at 64.06 inches (1,627 mm). Meanwhile the wheelbase is at 110.71 inches (2,812 mm) though the overhangs are shorter.

Meanwhile the A pillar and the C pillar have been swept back with the roof line making a curve similar to a coupe which goes down earlier. Just around its windows is the high-gloss package that is fitted as standard and helps highlight the style of the Q5. A spoiler on the rear helps extend the roof line visually. Standard as well is the crossbar and the roof rails. The roof rails are in anodized aluminum which can be in black as well.

Topics: vw, mexico, audi, production

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