Audi to open 100,000-car assembly plant in China image

German luxury carmaker Audi AG, which is owned by Volkswagen Group, plans to open a new 100,000-vehicle assembly plant in September in China to meet growing demand in the world’s biggest auto market, reported Monday’s China Daily.

The 1 billion yuan plant will be in the northeastern city of Changchun. It will double Audi’s production capacity to 200,000 units a year, the newspaper said, citing Zhang Xiaojun, executive deputy general manager of the Audi Sales Division at Sino-German car joint venture FAW Volkswagen Automobile Co Ltd.

The first two models to roll off the new assembly line will be the Audi A4L sedan and Q5 SUV. The A4L is now made at an existing 100,000-unit factory in Changchun that also produces the Audi A6L sedan. Production of the Q5 will begin at its new plant at the end of this year.

The new facility is seen as a strategic move by Audi, the biggest premium carmaker in China, to meet its sales target of 200,000 vehicles annually by 2015. It sold nearly 120,000 vehicles last year, according to the newspaper.

Zhang said the brand will introduce eight all-new and upgraded models in the second half of this year, including the locally made A4L 1.8TFSI AND 2.0TFSI, the A6L 2.7TDI and the Q5 2.0T as well as the imported Q5 3.2, Q7 3.0TDI, Q7 V12TDI and R8 5.2FSI Quattro.

The carmaker will also aggressively expand its sales network, increasing the number of authorized dealerships to more than 210 in 100 Chinese cities before 2012.

Audi currently has 146 dealerships on the mainland, most of them in first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Audi is also building more so-called “Terminal” showrooms in China styled like airport hangars that will be the global architectural hallmark of its brand. The number of these “Terminal” showrooms will exceed 30 next year, up from 13 at present.