Volkswagen’s already dedicating itself to building a bespoke model for North America in an all-new plant located in the U.S. Audi, on the other hand, isn’t so certain that’s a good idea.
Although the company once considered building cars for North America in North America, currency fluctuations, triggered in part by Greek’s ongoing debt crisis, have made such an idea fiscally unsound.
“U.S. production doesn’t pay off at the current dollar exchange rate,” Michael Dick, Audi’s development chief, recently told Automotive News.
Perhaps it’s just as well. Sources within the company suggest Audi can’t simply share VW’s brand-spanking-new factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, because Audi and VW are moving away from shared architectures. Regardless, this shouldn’t hamper Audi’s expansion goals, as CEO Ruper Stadler maintains the brand doesn’t need a U.S. assembly base to help it produce 1.5 million cars annually by 2015.
Audi may not need a U.S.-exclusive car to reach that goal, either. Although Volkswagen is keen on the idea of designing a midsize sedan (the NMS) exclusively for North American consumers, Audi’s top brass doesn’t see the value in such a move. Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi of America, says no such vehicle is in the works. Dick echoes his comments, and also dismisses the idea of shipping European-made powertrain components to a U.S. assembly plant for installation.
“The localization is too small,” Dick told AN, “and you haven’t accomplished anything.”
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)