Audi opens first North American plant
Audi has officially open the doors to its new production facility in San José Chiapa, Mexico. The plant is not only Audi’s first in North America, but also the first from a premium automobile manufacturer in Mexico.
Audi designed the entire plant virtually, allowing several different planners to work on the project at once. As a result, the 988 acre plant was able to be completed in just three-and-a-half years. In addition to an assembly line, the plant also features a press shop, body shop and paint shop.
“Our plant in Mexico is a prime example of the Audi Smart Factory. The facility is the first that we have put into operation completely virtually, that is, in a computer simulation,” stated Audi’s Board of Management Member for Production Waltl. “We have optimized the entire process chain and put the plant into operation 30 percent faster than is usual.”
Audi will use the plant to build its new Q5 SUV for the global market. Audi says the facility will have the capacity to produce up to 150,000 Q5s annually. Roughly 70 percent of the Q5’s components are sourced from the NAFTA region. So far about 100 companies have setup shop around the Mexican plant to supply parts for the Q5. The Audi plant itself employs 3,300 people.
The Q5 is one of Audi’s most popular vehicles to date, with 1.6 million units sold. The Mexican-made Q5 will be shipped to a number of global markets, although the SUV will still be produced locally in China and India for those markets.