Audi is further expanding the biggest investment program in its history. From 2015 through 2019, the Ingolstadt-based company plans to invest €24 billion, which is €2 billion more than in the previous planning period. 70 percent of the investment will flow into the development of new models and technologies. Audi aims to meet stringent CO2 limits worldwide with a new generation of extremely economical combustion engines and alternative efficiency technologies. Furthermore, new features in the areas of connectivity and driver assistance are designed to extend the “Vorsprung durch Technik” of the brand with the four rings. At the same time, the company is expanding its worldwide production network. More than half of the planned investment will take place at the German sites in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm.
Audi plans to develop new cutting-edge technologies and to create additional production capacities worldwide in the next five years through large-scale investment. “We place top priority on sustainable growth. That’s why we are making large investments in the innovative areas of electric mobility, connectivity and lightweight construction,” stated Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management (CEO) of AUDI AG. The company is also pushing ahead with the expansion of its global production network.
The total investment volume of €24 billion comprises approximately €17 billion of investment in property, plant and equipment and €7 billion of capitalized development costs. “70 percent of all our investment in the next five years will flow into new models and innovative technologies,” explained Board of Management Member for Finance (CFO) Axel Strotbek.
“Despite the growth in total investment, we will keep a watchful eye on the upcoming challenges and exercise the required cost discipline,” stated the CFO. Top priority is being placed on progressing as efficiently as possible. The expansion of international manufacturing structure and higher advance expenditure for new models and technologies, in particular to meet stricter CO2 limits worldwide, require enormous efforts from the entire workforce.
In order to fulfill the ambitious CO2 limits, the company is working not only on the next generation of fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel engines, but also on plug-in hybrids such as the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron*, which became available in the first markets at the end the year. “We are constantly further developing alternative drive systems and focusing above all on connecting the car with its digital environment,” explained Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s Board of Management Member for Technical Development. “The car will communicate with the driver, the Internet, the infrastructure and other vehicles, while moving in an environmentally friendly manner.” The new Audi TT* is a pacemaker in terms of seamless connectivity. Its integrated Audi virtual cockpit, which merges a combination of instruments and an MMI screen into a central digital unit, sets new standards.
The workforce will also grow in the context of the investment in the main plants in Germany. Last year, Audi has recruited approximately 3,000 new employees in Germany alone. “We will continue to recruit in 2015, thus
underpinning our course of sustainable growth,” said Audi’s Board of Management Member for Human Resources, Thomas Sigi. In addition, Audi will promote its own young talent and will once again provide specialist training to 700 young people. “We want to strengthen our core competencies, especially in key technologies, with a strong team in the domestic plants,” continued Sigi.
Worldwide, the Audi Group’s workforce has now grown to the record size of 80,000 employees. In Mexico and Brazil, the company is investing in new plants so that it can fully utilize the growth potential of the American continent. In this way, the premium producer from Ingolstadt will make sure it is even more independent of exchange-rate fluctuations in the future.
Audi reached the mark of 1.7 million cars delivered in 2014. By 2020, the company aims to be the premium brand number one on a sustainable basis.