Audi To Build Q5 in Mexico for North America Says Der Spiegel Report
by, 04-06-2012 at 03:14 PM (6226 Views)
According to Reuters, German news magazine Der Spiegel has reported that Audi has finalized plans to build its much-talked about North American factory in Mexico and that this factory will build the Q5. The story sites no sources, though the fact that the rumor comes from Der Spiegel suggests there's some legitimacy to it.
What's Our Take
This isn't the first time we've heard this rumor. More common believe has been that Audi would build near or even on land already acquired in Tennessee next to the current Volkswagen Passat plant. That Chattanooga theory relied upon the logic that Audi would focus on domestic production of MQB platform offerings like the A3 and Q3, utilizing the network of OE suppliers already in place there thanks to Volkswagen's presence there already. With the A3 and Q3 both coming by 2014, this didn't seem implausible.
We'd heard Mexico through some of our backchannel VW sources and also in casual mention by an Audi source once. It was never more than a consideration, though the argument was levied that NAFTA rules and more affordable labor were strong reasons for its consideration. Also, Audi executives have always been careful to mention this expansion as their "North American" plant and not their "American" plant.
Given all of this, we're guessing the report is correct. Audi's largest volume models in the USA are the A4 and the Q5 so domestic production of these two MLB-chassis cars would make the most financial sense. Thus far, Der Spiegel doesn't mention A4, but given it outsells even the Q5 by a wide margin in the States and the model already set in place by China with domestic A4 and Q5 production, we're figuring that's only a matter of time if a North American MLB production point becomes reality.
Further expansion of A3 and Q3 models could come later and still go into Chattanooga as well though no one has discussed anything about a second North American production point... yet.
Anther interesting note, Audi was decidedly quiet in New York at the auto show this week. Audi AG board member Peter Schwarzenbauer was present at the show but not very visible on the Audi stand. Could knowledge of the Der Spiegel report and not wanting to be quoted on the subject have been the reason? In all honesty we don't know but now we're starting to wonder.