Audi’s 2nd plant in China to start operation in Sept image

The second China-based plant of Volkswagen’s premier division Audi is expected to start operation in September, and will double its capacity in the country to 200,000 units, Reuters reported today, citing a company representative.

The 1 billion yuan ($146.3 mln) plant, jointly built by Audi and its Chinese partner FAW Group, will make Audi A4L and Q5 at the plant, the company source said. A4L, a derivative of Audi’s popular mid-size sedan that features a longer wheelbase, is now made at Audi’s first China plant, also based in the northeastern city of Changchun.

Audi saw its deliveries to customers in China, its largest export market, rise by 11% to a record 66,866 cars in the first half, with sales in June up 28% to 13,265 units, an all-time best for that month. Audi sales in China including Hong Kong jumped nearly 43% to 13,399 units in July, marking another monthly record.

The carmaker will also expand its sales network, increasing the number of authorized dealerships to more than 210 in 100 Chinese cities by 2012. Audi currently has 146 dealerships in mainland China, most of them in first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

As the Chinese government’s stimulus measures have effectively lifted consumer confidence, China has been a bright spot for global automakers hit badly by a sharp industry downturn.