According to Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, Audi is on the path to strengthening already strong sales in the North American market with the laying of the foundation stone of automaker’s new plant in San José Chiapa, Mexico. “[This is] an important future element of the global Audi production network,” he stated recently in an Audi press release.
The new $1.3 billion Audi AG plant, set to become operational in 2016, will create 3,800 new jobs in the state of Puebla, where the plant will be located. This will be the first factory in the Americas for Audi, and the vehicles manufactured in the plant will be the automaker’s popular Q5 SUV.
While the plant at first was intended to manufacture 150,000 units, executives at Audi have stated publicly that the plant will be large enough for 300,000 units, and there could very well be production of a Q6 SUV along with the Q5 models.
The goal of Audi AG is to make North America one of their top three markets. Said Stadler at another press conference: “In 2020 every seventh Audi from our worldwide production will go” to North America, Stadler said in a speech at the groundbreaking ceremony in Mexico over the weekend. “Then we have reached our goal and strengthened America as a third pillar of our sales in addition to Asia and Europe.”
He further remarked at the laying of the plant foundation ceremony in Puebla: “With the production of one of our most successful models here in Mexico, we will give significant impetus to our global growth and supply the extremely popular Audi Q5 from here to the world market. By setting up a new car plant in North America, we are establishing a presence on another continent that is very important to us. In this way, we are strengthening our international competitiveness and consistently pursuing the Audi growth strategy.”
The plant will contain a paint shop, body shop, assembly line, and press shop. The 400-hectare facility will be the Audi’s most modern and technologically advanced, and Mexico presented many benefits to the automobile maker. The Mexican workforce is highly educated and famed for their strong work ethic, and the country’s well-developed infrastructure along with its numerous international free-trade agreements made it the ideal place for Audi to set up shop.
Furthermore, Mexico offers the best tax and business environment for automakers. “With Mexico, Audi has made the best choice to help it develop and secure its growth,” emphasised Mexico’s Economics Minister Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal in the same ceremony celebrating the start of the plant’s construction.
Rafael Moreno Valle, Puebla’s governor, further stated: “Our country and the new Audi location in San José Chiapa in Puebla offer the best conditions for the successful development of the entire American market. We are proud that with Audi México, the first international premium manufacturer in the automotive industry is at home in our federal state.”
On a separate occasion, Stadler mentioned that no jobs at the Ingolstadt factory in Germany would be lost when production of the Q5 shifts to Mexico; the additional demand for production cannot be met at the existing German plants.