Audi Plans to Build in North America, Maybe Drink Margaritas

By Matthew Askari | January 16, 2012
While Audi hasn't made it official, several indications show the German luxury automaker is leaning towards building a plant in Mexico, while America still a consideration. Audi hasn't said what might be built at the plant, but did suggest that it would have to be a model that could justify production of 100,000 units, something the automaker is potentially years away from. Audi sold 117,000 total vehicles in America in 2011, an all-time best, but these numbers are across the entire Audi range and include 10 vehicles. Audi's top model, the Audi A4 (including the A4 Avant wagon and S4) had sales of just over 35,000 in 2011—its best showing. Audi's parent company, Volkswagen, currently relies on its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant for its North American Passat, but Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen has ruled Chattanooga out, telling Wards Auto, "Our Volkswagen colleagues have got ambitions of their own in terms of developing the business here, and the Chattanooga capacity will be required by the VW brand." The North American Audi Boss did suggest Mexico was a strong consideration, alluding to some of the benefits. "One advantage of Mexico is that you could support the growing markets down in South America, Brazil," and added, "you have the benefit of exporting cars into Europe duty-free." In addition to trade agreements, labor would be markedly cheaper. Still, de Nysschen didn't rule out the U.S., citing that there were several advantages to building here, without specifically listing any. While it's been decided that North America will get a plant, regardless of which country is selected, it appears we're still years away from production by the German automaker on this continent. Source: Wards Auto, Audi