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by Tim Beissmann

Audi is embarking on the biggest investment program in the company’s history, expanding its investment to 24 billion euros ($35.5 billion) to accelerate the growth of its vehicle portfolio and production network between now and the end of the decade.

Approximately 17 billion euros ($25.2 billion) will go towards funding the development of new models and technologies, with efficiency and connectivity the company’s two key buzz words for the next five years.

By the end of 2020, Audi plans to expand its model portfolio from 50 to 60 models. The company says its main focus will be on new models in the C and D segments as well as the Q SUV family – the latter starting with the introduction of the pint-sized Q1 next year.

Audi-Standort Ingolstadt

Audi technical development chief Dr Ulrich Hackenberg says the luxury car maker is hard at work on its future connected vehicle technology, as well as development of its next-generation petrol and diesel engines and evolution of its plug-in hybrid powertrain technology.

“We are constantly further developing alternative drive systems and focusing above all on connecting the car with its digital environment,” Hackenberg said.

“The car will communicate with the driver, the internet, the infrastructure and other vehicles, while moving in an environmentally friendly manner.”

Audi says the new TT, which launches in Australia next month, sets the pace in terms of seamless connectivity, sporting the brand’s integrated virtual cockpit interior concept that merges the instruments and MMI screen into a single digital unit behind the steering wheel.

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Another important element of the investment program is the expansion of the company’s manufacturing centres in Germany and other regions around the world.

More than half of the investment into production facilities will be spent at Audi’s two German plants, Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm – the former is already being prepared for new models such as the Q1, the latter to undergo extensive work to prepare it for production of the next-generation A8 luxury sedan.

Audi also plans to almost double its workforce in Mexico, adding 850 employees this year before the first Q5 SUVs roll off the brand’s new production line in 2016.




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