Audi ups the pace

A new activation and implementation program is now allowing Audi to tackle important issues in order to achieve long-term success. The Audi Agenda centers on products, technologies, the brand and the regions of China and North America. The clear goal of the Four Rings is to breathe new life into “Vorsprung durch Technik,” bring the company closer to its customers and strengthen quality. This applies to all products and is also a mindset for the entire company. An overview.

03/19/2024 Reading Time: 5 min

Herr Doellner neben Audi Q6 e-tron quattro
For Audi CEO Gernot Döllner, the Premium Platform Electric and with it the Audi Q6 e-tron model series are the next technological leap towards electric premium quality.

Audi Q6 e-tron quattro: electric power consumption (combined): 19.6–17.0 kWh/100 km; CO₂ emissions (combined): 0 g/km; CO₂ class: A

Audi Q6 e-tron quattro: electric power consumption (combined): 19.6–17.0 kWh/100 km; CO₂ emissions (combined): 0 g/km; CO₂ class: A

Exhausted but happy, Carlos Sainz and his co-driver Lucas Cruz sit on the roof of the Audi RS Q e-tron.1 Slowly, they coast through the cheering crowd at the finish of the legendary Dakar Rally. When they get off the car, they fall into the team’s arms. After many months of working, fighting and hoping for this moment, it is finally here: Audi has won its first Dakar Rally – after 12 stages and 4,600 kilometers racing over sand, rocks and gravel.


It is a historic success: Audi is the first manufacturer ever to win the world’s toughest rally with an electric drive system. “With this victory, Audi has laid yet another milestone in the world of motorsport,” says Gernot Döllner, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, as he congratulates the team. Much more importantly for him: “We set ourselves a realistic target in the run-up to this rally, then did everything we could as a team to achieve that target and proved that with ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ and our commitment to quality, we can take a vehicle all the way to the top even under the toughest conditions. This spirit and mindset are crucial for Audi – both in motorsport and within the company as a whole. They’re the basis for successfully mastering all of the upcoming challenges and changes in the automotive industry.”

Gernot Döllner

“Audi has a lot of strengths. We are building on these and breathing new life into ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’.”

– Gernot Döllner, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG

While the daily challenges of the Dakar Rally come to an end after a good two weeks, many other challenges outside the world of motorsport will keep Gernot Döllner and his team busy for much longer. Not only is the global economic and geopolitical environment becoming increasingly difficult; there is also tougher competition, driven by technological change. And the transformation of the automaker’s own company is in full swing: for an established car manufacturer like Audi, switching to electric mobility means having to develop combustion engine models, hybrid models and electric models in parallel. In addition, more and more development effort is going into software and hardware components – for a comprehensive, updatable, digital overall experience in the vehicle that ties customers even more closely to the brand. All of this offers opportunities, but it also requires substantial investment and faster development cycles.

“Becoming leaner and more efficient in the right places”

Jürgen Rittersberger, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Finance, Legal Affairs and IT

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Jürgen Rittersberger

Jürgen Rittersberger, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Finance, Legal Affairs and IT

Jürgen Rittersberger:

With the Audi Agenda, we have defined a clear plan and are setting about the right tasks. We are transforming our company to embrace electric mobility and digitalization and are consistently developing our business model. By placing “Vorsprung durch Technik” back at the heart of the brand, we want to lead the way in quality and design.


All of this requires considerable financial resources, making it all the more important to deliver a robust economic performance. In the long term, we are aiming to achieve an operating return on sales of 13 percent with the Audi brand. For the Audi Group – that is, together with the Bentley, Lamborghini and Ducati brands – we are targeting an operating return on sales of 14 percent.


The measures necessary to achieve this are bundled in our Performance Program 14, the financial foundation of the Audi Agenda. We are looking at where we can become leaner and more efficient, where we can eliminate unnecessary processes and reduce complexity. As far as costs are concerned, we are focusing especially on variable costs. One important point here is that we are not cutting back on quality or on product features that are relevant to customers. On the revenue side, we will benefit from the many new models that we will be launching on markets from 2024. All of this will strengthen our price positioning.


I am aware that these are extremely challenging tasks, especially in light of the current geopolitical and economic crises. But we have a great team and strong brands in our brand group. And if we all pull together and tackle this with the right mindset, then we will be able to achieve even the most ambitious goals.

This means that it is a time of change for Audi, and Döllner and his team are aware of that. In recent months, they have been working intensively on a program – the Audi Agenda – which reflects these challenges, outlines a concrete course of action and involves the Audi team in its implementation.


“We have ambitious plans,” says the CEO by way of analysis. “Audi has developed a lot of strengths over the decades. We are building on these and breathing new life into ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’: with iconic models, special efficiency, inspiring design as well as an intuitive and high-quality user experience.”

In the spotlight: product, technology, brand and the China and North America regions

“The Audi Agenda is our roadmap for tackling the right topics and getting Audi models on the road now,” explains Gernot Döllner. At its core, the Audi Agenda focuses on what is important to customers: the product, technology and the brand. While that applies worldwide, the priorities for Europe, China and North America differ. Specific work packages and responsibilities have been defined for each of these fields of action.

In the product area, the primary focus in recent months has been on making final adjustments to the Audi Q6 e‑tron to satisfy customer requirements. Production started at the end of 2023. Preparations are now underway for the market launch. The next step is to finalize other important new products for 2024: especially the Audi A6 e-tron,2 Audi A52 and Audi Q5.2


In addition, Audi is continually developing technologies, particularly in the field of electric mobility, so as to act as a pioneer and set the standard when it comes to innovation in electric cars. “We’re building on established Audi strengths, such as design, chassis construction and our quattro all-wheel drive system. But we want to give ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ a broader perspective,” says Döllner. “We’re aiming for a holistic customer experience, from driving dynamics to the digital ecosystem and automated driving. And we want to lead the way in terms of drive efficiency.” To this end, Audi is undergoing a paradigm shift in the development of new models toward “software first” and will in the future offer vehicles that are developed around the software – these are referred to as software-defined vehicles (SDVs).

As part of the Audi Agenda, the company is also strengthening the brand. The aim is to make the brand more tangible, approachable and personal for customers. In this way, Audi wants to further strengthen and expand its position in the global markets – although the emphasis differs from region to region: the company’s aim for Europe is to consolidate its excellent performance over the past years. In China, where Audi has a long history of success, the company also wants to pick up speed in the electric age together with its joint venture partners. And the plan for North America is to exploit new market opportunities and sell significantly more vehicles in the future.

Strong team, stable processes and economic performance

“In summary, we want to bring the Audi brand closer to our customers around the world and combine ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ with an unmistakable design in our cars. And we’re placing the spotlight on quality – not only in our models, but as a mindset for the entire company,” Döllner points out.


As part of the new mindset at Audi, Döllner expects entrepreneurial pragmatism and clearer responsibilities from his managers: “We’ve achieved a lot in recent months, but our core processes need to become more stable.” The organizational structure and the Product Emergence Process (PEP for short) are his main areas of focus. To put it simply, getting new models on the road quickly requires that a very large organization with a very clear division of labor cooperates smoothly across three levels: the Board of Management as the body with overall responsibility, the product line organization responsible for the models and the technical experts responsible for individual systems. “When conflicts arise, the secret lies in finding solutions and making decisions quickly and in the company’s best interest at all three levels. Our customers and the quality of our products are the top priority for us as a company.”

“Audi spirit ensures unity”

Xavier Ros, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Human Resources

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Xavier Ros

Xavier Ros, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Human Resources

Xavier Ros:

For me, Audi stands for a strong brand, strong products and a strong team. The Audi team is the basis for everything in my opinion. It is the people who really drive the success of a company – especially at Audi. Because the way our employees identify with the Audi brand is something that makes our company very strong. It creates a special team spirit – the Audi spirit – that has seen us through many challenging times, most recently the coronavirus pandemic.


This special Audi spirit must be nurtured, because there is no doubt that we will face many changes and new challenges in the coming years. It is our responsibility to keep Team Audi together. I think it is very important that we regularly meet in person, both in production and in the office. We also promote personal interaction through special event formats, such as the family festivals organized in 2023, the Audi Social Day, the social Christmas market organized by the Works Council on the Audi Piazza and many other employee events. By working together as the Audi team and keeping our spirit, we will develop our full potential and master the tasks ahead.

The groundwork has been laid: the committee landscape below the Audi Board of Management has been simplified and streamlined, as has the product line organization – with a clear focus on faster and more robust decisions. “Now it’s time to put this new organization into practice,” says Döllner, referring to the overarching Audi Agenda. “It’s crucial that all employees are committed and identify with the program. The Audi team is the bedrock of it all.”


Alongside a strong team and stable processes, financial performance is also important – especially against the backdrop of challenging economic conditions. “Our long-term target for the Audi Group is a return of 14 percent,” says Döllner. To achieve this target, the company has launched the Performance Program 14. This ensures the Audi Agenda’s financial success and frees up financial resources for investments in the brand, portfolio and technologies.

Audi Report 2023

Annual and sustainability report

Audi Report 2023

Welcome to the Audi Report 2023! The combined annual and sustainability report of Audi brings together the topics of strategy, finance as well as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).

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Audi Q6 e-tron quattro: electric power consumption (combined): 19.6–17.0 kWh/100 km; CO₂ emissions (combined): 0 g/km; CO₂ class: A

Audi Q6 e-tron quattro: electric power consumption (combined): 19.6–17.0 kWh/100 km; CO₂ emissions (combined): 0 g/km; CO₂ class: A


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