Published on August 24th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Audi defies market slump with 57% boost in A8 production
Audi AG is hiring staff to increase car production, including a 57 percent capacity boost for the 69,600 euro A8 flagship sedan, on expectations that the luxury-auto industry will weather the stock-market slump. Audi’s second-biggest plant, where its 111,100 euro R8 sports car and the 48,900 euro A7 four-door coupe are built, is running extra shifts after adding about 500 workers this year, s. Output is expected to jump to 21 percent to a record 260,000 vehicles in 2011.
The busy assembly lines at the plant in southwest Germany are part of broader expansion at the company, which is adding capacity in Spain and boosting production in China. Audi is adding 1,200 technicians, engineers, and other skilled workers this year to bolster its challenge to BMW. The unit, which accounts for more than 40 percent of VW’s profit, suspended summer holidays at its main factory in Ingolstadt to maintain output of the Q5 SUV. It also extended around-the-clock production of the Q7 SUV at a plant in Bratislava, Slovakia, until the end of the year.
At the Neckarsulm plant, a third shift for the A8 was added in July, taking daily production to 180 vehicles from 115. The plant is also being refitted to ramp up production of sporty “S” variants of the A6, A7 and A8 models, which will hit showrooms next year. The plant is due to produce 300,000 vehicles in 2012, up from 260,000 this year and 180,000 in 2009, when the financial crisis hit sales.