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    Audi + Ducati News from 2012 Volkswagen Group General Meeting

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    Yesterday Audi chose to reveal its purchase of Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati at the 2012 Volkswagen Group Annual General meeting. We've gathered a collection of photos from the event that are posted here and the full set via a link at the bottom of this post. Below are several shots worth noting, along with highlights pertaining to Audi directly from the speech yesterday of Volkswagen Group President Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn.

    ABOVE: Audi AG President Rupert Stadler with Ducati Panigale superbike.

    Speech Excerpt Regarding Audi:
    Audi is preparing to overtake on its way to the top of the premium segment. With more than 1.3 million deliveries, the brand has already overtaken its first core competitor. And, with an impressive operating margin of 12.1 percent, Audi is increasingly occupying pole position in terms of profitability, too.
    Speech Excerpt Regarding Audi A3:
    New models such as the Q3 demonstrate the brand’s significant potential to conquer the market in promising new segments. What is more, our colleagues from Ingolstadt have again underscored their role as technology pioneers on a broad front – from hybrid drives through lightweight construction to intelligent vehicle networking.

    ABOVE: Audi display at 2012 Volkswagen Group Annual General Meeting including Audi A8 (foreground) with optional 21-inch updated "Tri-Five" wheel design and Audi A1 quattro (background).

    Speech Excerpt Regarding Lamborghini:
    Lamborghini has also upped the tempo appreciably. The brand delivered around 1,600 vehicles in 2011 – an increase of 23 percent. Lamborghini benefited from the growing demand for exclusive super sports cars – especially in China, the Middle East and the USA.

    Speech Excerpt Regarding the Lamborghini Aventador:
    The Aventador is Lamborghini’s impressive new flagship. The lightweight carbon-fiber monocoque weighs a mere 147 kilograms. The Aventador is yet another example of our Group’s expertise in lightweight construction.

    Speech Excerpt Regarding Production Plans Including Audi Mexican Factory:
    In China, we will be investing some €14 billion and opening new plants in Foshan, Yizheng and Ningbo, among other locations, in the period up to 2016. Furthermore, at its meeting yesterday, the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft approved the construction of a new plant in Xinjiang province, Western China. We recently started producing the ŠKODA Yeti in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, together with the GAZ Group. We are currently building a new engine plant in Mexico so that we can continue to increase local value added. Audi will also be establishing its own production facility in Mexico, where an SUV model is due to start rolling off the production line in 2016. We are also increasing the pace in the ASEAN region: We have already started producing the Volkswagen Passat in Malaysia, with the Polo and Jetta following soon. And the Transporter and Multivan are now being built in Indonesia.

    At the same time, we are investing considerable sums in our plants and locations in Europe and here in Germany as well. For example, production of the Amarok will start in Hanover in June, where it will safeguard the future of that location. This all goes to show that our German production facilities are and will remain the backbone of Volkswagen’s success.

    Wherever we are active, there’s one thing our customers can be sure of: the tremendous diversity of our automotive world.

    With today’s ten strong brands – from economy to luxury.
    And more than 240 different vehicle models – from the up! to 50-tonne heavy trucks.
    And we are now adding another, high-growth element to this diversity.

    Speech Excerpt Regarding Ducati:
    Yesterday, the Supervisory Boards of Audi and Volkswagen approved the acquisition of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. by AUDI AG. The integration of this tradition-steeped Italian sports motorcycle manufacturer is to be completed as quickly as possible once authorized by the competition authorities.

    We firmly believe that Audi and Ducati are an excellent fit:
    Both companies are sporty, global premium brands
    Both companies rank among the most profitable manufacturers in their respective segments.
    And both companies are technology leaders. Ducati has great, invaluable expertise in small, high-performance engines, desmodromic valve systems and lightweight construction.

    With this step, Audi is reviving the proud motorcycle tradition of the DKW and NSU brands – and at the same time developing a new, high-growth business area. We are convinced Ducati will substantially strengthen Audi and the entire Volkswagen Group. And we are delighted to be welcoming this proud Italian brand to our Group family soon.

    Speech Excerpt Regarding the Audi A3 & the Group's Modular Strategy:
    Our modular strategy is the lever when it comes to costs. At Audi, all vehicles from the A4 to the A8 are already based on the modular longitudinal toolkit. We are now rolling out this systematic approach across the entire Group. The new Audi A3 is the first model based on the modular transverse toolkit (MQB).

    The MQB is the technical backbone for all of the Group’s future vehicles in the Polo, Golf and Passat segments. In the future, more than 40 models will be built using this common toolkit.

    Of course, we first need to recoup our substantial development and startup costs. In the medium to long term, however, the modular transverse toolkit will deliver substantial savings in unit costs, one-time expenses and the production of our vehicles. For example, the production time per vehicle will be cut by around 30 percent. The transfer of the toolkit principle to production is the next logical step. Our factory of the future is highly flexible, and it can produce a wide range of models and brands on the same production line.

    This opens up entirely new opportunities for us to ensure optimum capacity utilization at our plants across the entire Group. So, as you can see: The Volkswagen Group has laid the foundations for moving into a new dimension in terms of profitability in the long term, too.
    See more photos from the 2012 Volkswagen Annual General Meeting in our photo gallery HERE.


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