Audi has toyed with the idea of opening a plant in North America to help it reach an ambitious two-million unit annual sales goal by 2020, and now it appears the automaker will build a new plant in Mexico, which will be the production site of a new SUV.
Shortly after Volkswagen opened its new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee last summer, Audi's Rupert Stadler said it was "totally clear" that the luxury automaker needed more production capacity in North America. Now, Audi has confirmed it will go south of the border where Volkswagen already operates a number of assembly plants.
“As an established carmaking location, Mexico offers an excellent economic basis for Audi production operations,” Stadler said. "Good infrastructure, competitive cost structures and existing free trade agreements played a significant role in the choice of Mexico. This trailblazing move will help us safeguard our position in the world market. Our German locations, too, stand to benefit from it.”
Audi states that the new plant should be operational by 2016 and will first produce an SUV. It’s unclear whether Audi is referring to the upcoming Q3 compact crossover, or future iterations of the Q5 and Q7. Regardless of what Audi builds, the automaker expects to save costs by finally moving a portion of its production to North America.