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Audi to build cars in North America

Mon, 11 Jul 2011

Audi AG has decided to build a vehicle-assembly plant in North America and is considering an additional engine and transmission plant.

Volkswagen Group's premium brand is completing details of the assembly plant--including models, location and capacity. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said all decisions will be made within three years.

"It is totally clear that we need new production capacity in the U.S.," Stadler said in an interview here. "The question only is when."

An Audi source also told Automotive News that the carmaker is considering building an engine and transmission plant in North America to increase local content. That second plant could be shared with VW division.

Inventory is an issue for Audi, which set a sales record in 2010 with 101,629 sales in the United States.

Stadler said Audi plans to increase U.S. sales by 10 to 20 percent this year and could surpass 150,000 units by 2015.

"Our dealers currently ask for more cars than we can deliver," he said. "Our delivery times are still too high."

On July 1, Audi had a 21-day supply of vehicles in the United States.

Under Audi's "Strategy 2020" plan, Stadler said the brand aims to nearly double its global sales by the end of the decade. Last year, Audi sold 1.1 million new cars.

The original goal of 1.5 million cars for 2015 will be reached a year earlier than planned, Stadler said, and by 2020 Audi wants to sell 2 million cars.

Globally, Audi's lineup will increase from 38 models this year to 42 in 2015 and 50 by 2020.

By Harald Hamprecht- Automotive News