Ο CEO της Audi, Rupert Stadler, κατά την ετήσια συνέντευξη τύπου που ανακοίνωσε τις 7 νέες τεχνολογίες, ανακοίνωσε επίσης μια σειρά νέων μοντέλων. Η αρχή θα γίνει με το A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid το οποίο θα κυκλοφορήσει το 2014 ενώ αντίστοιχες εκδόσεις θα έρθουν αργότερα στην επόμενη γενιά του A4 αλλά και του Q7.
O Stadler ανέφερε επίσης ότι το A6L (με το μακρύ μεταξόνιο) θα παρουσιαστεί μέσα στο 2012, θα κατασκευάζεται στη Κίνα και θα διαθέτει ένα αναβαθμισμένο MMI σύστημα με οθόνη αφής η οποία θα καταλαβαίνει πλέον και τους Κινέζικους χαρακτήρες. Τέλος o CEO της Audi, δήλωσε ότι τα A6 και A8 TDI θα πωλούνται και στην αγορά της Αμερικής από το 2013 ενώ το Q5 TDI θα ξεκινήσει εμπορική καριέρα στην απέναντι μεριά του Ατλαντικού από το 2014.
Speech to the Annual Press Conference 2012 – Part 2
Thank you, Mr. Strotbek.
Those are excellent figures for 2011. However, when we look ahead, it’s certainly not all sunshine and roses. The economic forecasts tell us that we’ll soon be steering into a headwind. For example, the World Bank has made a downward correction to its outlook for this year. Global economic growth will probably be limited to 2.5 percent. For the automobile industry, experts expect a 4 percent increase in car sales this year. We have set a clear goal for ourselves: In 2012, Audi wants to achieve stronger growth than the market as a whole.
Let’s have a look at the January and February figures. During the first two months of this year, Audi achieved worldwide deliveries of more than 200,000 automobiles. This represents an increase of 8 percent. In January, Audi’s European sales felt the effects of the model transition in the A4 family, but we already posted strong gains again in February.
For the entire year, we intend to increase our sales in all regions around the world. China has become firmly established as a key pillar alongside the major markets of the USA and Europe. Russia, India and the South American countries are also becoming increasingly important. We are using this trend in our continued efforts to position our brand at the global level.
Europe is – and will remain – Audi’s solid foundation. For the current year, we expect slightly stronger sales than in 2011. And although the developments in some national markets will be extremely tough, Audi will see especially strong performance.
In the Chinese market, by contrast, we are aiming to achieve double-digit growth again for 2012. This will bring Audi a major step closer to its declared objective of delivering its two-millionth car in that country by the end of 2013. To accomplish that goal, we’re planning to nearly double our dealer network in China by the end of 2013, for example. For sustainable success, you need to have an understanding of the market, and must also develop and produce your products there.
This applies to two models: As the first step, we’ll be introducing the Audi Q3 into the Chinese market as an import vehicle. The second step will be to start local production of this model. Second, for the long version of the Audi A6, which we have been producing locally for quite some time, we can state today: Before this year ends, Audi will be launching the new generation onto the market. A few additional details about this model: With its spacious back seat, the long version of the Audi A6 is especially tailored to the needs of our Chinese customers. On board is an MMI with a touchpad that recognizes Chinese characters – specially developed at our Infotainment Tech Center in Peking.
The long version of the Audi A6 is manufactured at the Changchun plant in the North of China. Local production is set to undergo further expansion: About 3,000 kilometers to the south of Changchun, in Foshan, Audi is now building a second plant in cooperation with our joint-venture partner, FAW. A member of the A3 family will start rolling off the assembly line there at the end of 2013. With Changchun and Foshan, we will have manufacturing capacity in China for up to 700,000 vehicles a year as of 2015. We are ideally positioned to continue building upon our market leadership in the premium segment.
In the USA, Audi is also set to achieve double-digit growth again in 2012. After all, the Audi brand is now recognized as a force in the premium segment in that country as well. We proved that at this year’s Super Bowl, where Audi produced highlights – in every sense of the word.
It’s just amazing what you can do with LED headlights. To be completely honest, it’s no coincidence that, of all vehicles, the vampire is driving an Audi S7 Sportback. In 2011, one in four Audi cars sold in the USA was a high-end luxury model. In the US market, we have also made the diesel respectable as an efficient drive technology. In just three years, the share of diesel vehicles in A3 and Q7 sales has increased from 0 to 50 percent. By 2015, we plan to double our sales of diesel engines in the USA. To that end, we will be launching the A8 TDI and A6 TDI there in 2013. In 2014, the Q5 Diesel will make its premiere on the US market.
The outlook is good. And the same goes for the USA as for China: If we want to continue growing there in the long term – and I’m talking about a strategic goal of more than 200,000 units in 2020 – then we must gain a foothold in North America with a local manufacturing plant. Because: A local plant will ensure that we be able to expand our capacity as necessary as we grow in this market. It will also provide us the flexibility we need to supply the North American market with new products, and reduces our exposure to exchange rate movements. In my view, this leads to one clear conclusion. We want to make a decision before the summer break regarding the when and where – and with which product – we’ll be setting up production in North America.
Now to the Geneva Motor Show. Next week, Audi will be in Geneva to present a key model in its product portfolio: The world premiere of the new Audi A3. It’s the official kick off for a whole new model family. The next generation of our flagship model in the compact car segment will hit the market by midyear: It’s just one of a total of 18 market launches that Audi’s planning for 2012, but is certainly the most significant. However, we won’t be revealing any further details before the Geneva Motor Show.
The A1 Sportback is already on the road, as is the product update of the A4 family. And we are still forging ahead with our product offensive: starting with sport versions like the RS 4 Avant and the luxury models from the S family to our hybrid fleet: It represents the start of electric mobility – the mobility of the future.
In order to understand future mobility needs, we have created a network of experts: the Audi Urban Future Initiative. Architects and futurologists discuss possible forms of mobility in the city of the future. It’s not only about roads, traffic lights and cars. Anyone who studies urban mobility also has to understand the structure and identity of a society. Megacities underscore the growth in the world’s population. They urgently need solutions for future mobility. In this project, we encourage people to: Think globally, act locally! Because no two megacities are alike.
For the second time, the Audi Urban Future Initiative is announcing an award. Six high-profile international architectural firms around the world will address the situation in their respective urban regions. They’ll each present their vision of how infrastructure can become an engine for urban development: for example in Mumbai, the world’s fastest-growing urban regions; in the Pearl River Delta in China, which will soon be home to 80 million inhabitants; or in Istanbul, the melting pot between Europe and Asia. Istanbul will also be the setting for the ceremony where the winning team will accept the 2012 award. The winning entry will be used to create a city dossier. Thanks to a detailed inventory of demographics, infrastructure and resources, this dossier will serve as the impetus for practical projects and for implementing the concept through construction work.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Audi has set itself the long-term goal of achieving carbon-neutral mobility – in order to do so, we must look at the entire product cycle: from the development and manufacturing of the vehicle and the utilization phase to recycling. Here, too, we want to demonstrate our Vorsprung durch Technik, and create balance in mobility. This means balance with people and the environment.
It is this attitude that sets us apart. For example in logistics: Audi was the first car manufacturer to decide to use trains powered with green energy when transporting our products by rail. Or for example in our plants, where we consistently use regenerative energy sources as part of a clear vision: carbon-neutral automobile production. It can also be seen in the development of new fuels. With the construction of a methanation facility, our Audi e-gas project is now entering its next phase. As you are aware, we are working to use synthetic gas to store surplus electric energy. In 2013, we will start selling the A3 TCNG, our first model powered by e-gas: ushering in the long-distance mobility of the future. This automobile is symbolic of our strategic approach: Ahead of the competition in the sprint – but also winning the marathon. Responsibility: For us it is defined in terms of economic, ecological and social progress. We also demonstrate responsibility toward the trainees and apprentices at Audi. In consultation with the Works Council, Audi decided that in the future, we will offer full-time positions to all young talents who successfully complete their training with the company. This creates perspectives for young people. And it also covers our need for skilled employees in the coming years. In 2012, we will also be hiring an additional 1,200 experts – just at our German locations – once again in particular in the future-oriented fields of lightweight design and electric mobility.
These are key areas where we are making substantial investments. From now until 2016, we will be investing more than 10.5 billion euros in the development of new models and future-oriented technologies. Total investments by Audi during this period will amount to 13 billion euros – the biggest investment program in our company’s history. This will also benefit our company locations: Over the next five years, nearly 8 billion euros will go to Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm alone: During the first half of this year, car body production for the new A3 will begin at the plant here. In addition, our Forum for Simultaneous Engineering will be completed in the middle of this year: In the future, this eight-storey building in Ingolstadt will house some 450 technical development employees.
Audi believes that five key innovation areas will determine the shape of future mobility. Design is and will remain the number-one motivating factor for car buyers. As a result, we have ensured that our models speak a clear design language. This applies equally to the interior and the exterior. Just think of our LED headlights and the single-frame grille. Now we need to go one step further and make the defining features of our cars even more distinctive.
Lightweight construction has also been an Audi core competency for decades. To continue moving ahead in this area, we have pooled our skills under the “Audi ultra” concept. An ultra-light car is more agile and maneuverable. And above all: it uses less fuel. We’re not just focusing here on one material, but rather on an intelligent combination: the right material at each location. And we will use designs that intelligently integrate the necessary functions or systems. In this way, we aim to make every model lighter than the preceding generation. We want the lightest vehicle in every segment to have four rings on the grille.
The third element: Audi connect. During the past decade, one of our top priorities was networking within the vehicle. In this decade, it is seamlessly linked to its environment: with other cars, with the infrastructure, and of course with the internet. We are thus turning the car into a modern status symbol – an interface between drivers and their surroundings. Today we already bring news and information into the vehicle via UMTS, offer navigation with Google Earth images, and deliver pinpointed traffic-flow data with Audi online traffic reporting. With the next step, as a driver you will be able to control the head-up display with just a wave of your hand or, in the passenger seat, surf the web at ultra-high speed with the new LTE standard. And developments continue. Soon we’ll be talking about such concepts as swarm intelligence and piloted driving.
This is the very direction that another idea, which we presented to you yesterday evening, is headed. Imagine you are driving in a big city – perhaps on your way to an important interview. You’ll need to find a parking spot quickly, ideally in a central location. Wouldn’t it be perfect if your Audi had already reserved that parking space for you in advance? When you arrived at your destination, you could drop your car off in front of the parking garage and get to your appointment on time. In the meantime, your car would proceed to park itself.
Audi mobility is the name we’ve given to describe the services related to all aspects of individual mobility: Whether it’s a “flatrate” service that allows our customers to have flexible access to a pool of car models from the Audi portfolio when necessary; or if it’s a smartphone app that simplifies intermodal travel by intelligently networking all travel options and modes of transport.
The fifth strategic area: Audi e-tron. We don’t want electric mobility to mean that our customers have to sacrifice the characteristics that define the Audi experience: such as quality, sportiness and efficiency. Rather, we see it as an elementary requirement to increase the range of electric vehicles: through light-weight construction; energy and heat management; and improved batteries. Audi e-tron also addresses the infrastructure surrounding the car: Electric cars are recharged wherever drivers park them: in the garage at home, on the company parking lot, in public parking garages. Naturally this will be done by cable at charging stations. However, we are also working on wireless charging, which is technology that allows non-contact charging via induction.
Our A1 e-tron has been out on the roads since September 2011. In a pilot project with a vehicle fleet in the greater Munich area, test customers are using it under everyday conditions. We will utilize the results in the “Showcasing Electromobility” projects funded by the German federal government. Under our e-tron master plan, Audi intends to follow the launch of our hybrid models this year with the launch of our first electric vehicle: the R8 e-tron.
While we are planning small-scale series production for this car, which is a vital element in our innovation and technology plans, the electric driving experience will become a reality for a growing clientele with our plug-in hybrids. Our pioneering vehicle in this field is the Audi A3, with the market launch of a plug-in version slated for 2014. This will be followed by the next-generation Audi A4 and Audi Q7 plug-in cars – starting in 2014 and in successive years. In 2020, we want to have an e-tron available in every segment and to achieve total sales in the six-figure range.
Ladies and Gentlemen, As you can see: the next several years are going to be exciting ones for our industry. But I am absolutely certain that we at Audi will rise to the tasks that lie ahead. Because there is one thing that never fails to surprise me: the unbelievable commitment, the enthusiasm and the passion of the Audi employees that makes our brand something special: a real jewel. Polishing this precious stone to perfection – that is our task. After all, we want the Audi brand to keep making our customers’ eyes light up in the years to come. It’s only this way that you become the number-1 premium car brand. Thank you!