Contrary to a report published Friday in the German magazine Der Spiegel, Audi claims it is not planning to build its new North American assembly plant in Mexico. According to Automotive News, Audi leadership has denied that parent company Volkswagen AG has already selected Mexico to produce its premium brand of automobiles, including the 2013 Audi Q5.
Audi’s final call has not been made
Audi spokesman Brad Stertz noted that Volkswagen AG has not made a final determination as to where its upcoming North American Audi plant will be located or which model will be built at the new location.
“It still going to come down to discussion on the board level,” Stertz said.
Citing no sources, Der Spiegel claimed that Audi had obtained the permission of Volkswagen AG to build a new factory in Mexico, and that factory would be used to produce the 2013 Audi Q5, among other vehicles. Der Spiegel also claimed that Volkswagen’s supervisory board plans to ratify plans for the Mexico Audi plant at its next meeting on April 18.
Audi plans to make final decision by summer
Volkswagen’s talk of expanding its factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., originally included more room for Audi vehicles, according to reports. The German automaker already builds its mid-sized Passat at the Chattanooga location.
However, the decision as to where production will expand appears to have been placed within Audi’s court. Expansion in Chattanooga may still occur, but Audi officials maintain that no final decision on where North American production will expand to shall be made before this summer. Locations in the U.S. and Mexico are still in the running. If Audi does decide to go to Mexico to build the Q5, it would joint Volkswagen’s already active plant in Puebla, Mexico, which produces both the Volkswagen Jetta and Volkswagen Beetle. By 2013, an additional Volkswagen plant will open in Silao, Mexico. This plant may be where Volkswagen produces a new SUV that will allegedly be larger than the Tiguan model.
At least two-and-a-half years before production
Volkswagen AG head of manufacturing Michael Macht told Automotive News back in February that even after the decision regarding the Audi plant is made, it will take at least two and a half years before production at the factory can begin.
U.S. versus Mexico
While Mexico is exempt from import duties – a fact that could potentially save Volkswagen from having to pay a 10 percent duty on cars shipped to Europe – the “Made in the U.S.A.” label is attractive to the German automaker.