Audi is considering suspending production of its luxury vehicles at the beginning of 2013 if the auto market in western Europe worsens.
Until now German premium automakers were not affected by the effects of the European crisis, which buffered mass-market car makers on the entire continent. But Germany’s economy begins to weaken and the unemployment begins to raise, keeping customers away from showrooms and dealerships. In October VW has closed twice its second-biggest plant in Neckarsulm for a week each time, a move which affected models such as the A8 sedan, the A7 coupe and the R8 sportscar. The plant, located in near Stuttgart in southwest Germany, manufactures cars such as the A4 sedan and even the 70,000-euro A8 and the 125,000-euro R8 Spyder.
“Should the market situation deteriorate considerably at the start of next year, then it is possible that further action may have to be taken,” said Audi works council chief Peter Mosch.
He also said that in 2013 the number of vehicles manufactured by Audi in Neckarsulm is expected to drop 6.8% to 243,348 units, but that no other cutbacks are planned for the following period. Besides VW’s Audi, Daimler also chose to cut production of its flagship S-Class sedan until mid-2013 when the next version of the model is ready to debut.