The oldest and largest automotive company in China, First Automobile Works (FAW), builds the Audi A4L, Audi A6L and Audi Q5 car lines for the Chinese market. During the first six months of 2013, more than 200,000 vehicles were delivered to customers in China and Hong Kong for the first time in a half-year period – an increase of almost 18 percent compared to the previous year. China is the largest single market for Audi worldwide.
First Automobile Works (FAW) was established in 1953 and has around 118,000 employees. The first partnerships with Volkswagen AG date back to 1988. A joint venture was established in 1991, with AUDI AG entering as a partner four years later – since then the group has held 10 percent of the shares of FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Ltd.
The first Audi product built by the joint venture, an Audi 100 with V6 engine, went into production in 1996 badged as an Audi 200. A version of the Audi A6 modified jointly by Audi and FAW for the Chinese market then followed in 2000. To build it, Audi shipped ultramodern automotive and production technology, such as laser welding and wax-flooding, to China. Extended wheelbase: the new long-wheelbase version Audi A6L appeared on the Chinese market in mid-2005.
The Audi A4 has been built in Changchun since 2003. The Audi A4L joined it at the start of 2009 – a new product in the upper midsize category. Since fall 2009, the Audi Q5 has been the first SUV model to be built in China. In addition, locally-built Audi Q3 models have been available in China since spring 2013. The one millionth Audi was sold in Changchun in October 2010. In July 2013, just three years later, Audi celebrated two million deliveries with its joint venture partner FAW. From late 2013, Audi will also build cars at the new FAW-Volkswagen plant in Foshan, southern China. This is where the Audi A3 Sedan and the Audi A3 Sportback will leave the production line.
Audi has been active in local vehicle development in China with its Chinese partner FAW for 25 years. Audi was the first premium manufacturer to develop an extended-wheelbase version explicitly for the Chinese market. Since 2008, Audi engineers have been successfully developing infotainment concepts tailored to the requirements of customers in China, Japan and Korea, including a touchpad for the navigation system. This allows inputs of handwritten Asian characters. In February 2013, Audi established a Research & Development Center for Asia in Beijing. In close cooperation with partner FAW-Volkswagen, the teams at the R&D Center deal mainly with the product requirements of Asian customers. The engineers are developing advanced electronics and connectivity technologies there, as well as components for innovative, efficient drive systems. The R&D Center Asia is housed in the new Audi China building in Beijing’s art district. Audi Design China is part of this R&D Center, and has designers for the areas exterior, interior and color schemes. The designers will also provide feedback on new trends from Asia to Ingolstadt, which has global responsibility for design.
The new R&D Center increases the number of developers in Beijing from 40 to more than 300. They are engaged in the areas of engine, body, electronics and battery development. A prototype hall and test facilities have also been set up.
Operation of the new plant in Foshan takes environmental factors into account. Various measures, for example heat recovery, closed-loop use of process water and integrated recycling, are implemented. These measures help us to save 100,000 metric tons of CO2 each year.
The Audi Production System (APS) has likewise been used intensively in recent years at the Changchun production site to implement numerous environmental aspects and Audi’s environmental policy at all levels down as far as the assembly line. Audi's environmental standards also apply to production in China. By integrating lightweight construction components into local production in China, Audi is not only further improving energy efficiency, but it is also again demonstrating its pioneering role in sustainability and environmental protection.
Over 290 dealer establishments in more than 130 major cities and regions throughout the country: the exclusive Audi dealer network is considered a benchmark for the competition. As well as the locally built vehicles, Audi is steadily adding to the range of imported models available. A wide range of initiatives in the area of cultural and sports sponsorship promote the brand image in China. For example, Audi was the “Official Premium Automobile” at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Audi also organises the “Audi Art and Design Award”, the “Audi Summer Concerts” and the “Audi quattro Cup” in China.
Asia’s first digital Audi showroom, Audi City Beijing, opened its doors at the end of January 2013 in the centre of the northern Chinese metropolis. On an area measuring 2,100 square metres, the two-storey cyberstore offers its visitors the opportunity to digitally configure a car from several million possible configurations and obtain a realistic life-size glimpse of their future car on screens that virtually fill the entire space.
Audi opened the first Audi Forum in Asia in the renowned Beijing Oriental Plaza business and commercial centre in 2003. Barely a stone’s throw from the Gate of Heavenly Peace, the Audi brand is vividly evoked through attractive exhibits, an exclusive lounge and the quattro boutique on an area measuring 1,000 square metres.
FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Company Ltd.
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