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Audi news

Automotive News - September 16, 1996

VW plans Volkswagen-baged V-8 luxury sedan
Automotive News Europe - Greg Kable
Volkswagen AG plans to build an all-new V-8 luxury sedan before 2000.  The
new VW flagship will be partly based on the front-wheel-drive platform
used by next years all-new Audi A6. Introduction in Europe is planned for
late 1999.  Chairman Ferdinand Piech has wanted to develop a larger model
above the Passat.  It would be aimed mainly at markets outside Europe,
including Southeast Asia and Latin America.  The Volkswagen name ranks
high in image and prestige in those regions - higher in some cases than
Audi.  The new car also will be sold in Europe at a price equivalent to
$37,000 to compete against existing premium large cars.  Plans for the
U.S. Market are unknown..  "Dr. Piech says Volkswagen has potential to go
higher than it is now," a VW executive said.  The new car is at an early
stage of development.  No decision has been made on where it will be
built.  One option is Audis underused Neckarsulm plant in southern
Germany.  The new car will share much of its platform structure with the
new Passat, including its torsion-beam rear suspension.  Manufacturing
strategies are based on modular construction techniques put in place by
VWs purchasing and production chief, J. Ignacio Lopez.  But everything
forward of teh B-pilllar has been reworked to make more room.  "Theres not
enough space in the Passat engine bay to fit a V-8," said Erwin Pape, head
 of research and development for chassis engineering. As a result,
engineers have devloped what they call a "class five engine module" to
accommodate the larger engine.  With the changes in place, the fwd
platform is code-named PL55.  Two engine development teams - one in
Wolfsburg, the other at Audi headquarters in Ingolstadt - are working on
new V-8 engines for the car.  No decision has been made, but an
eight-cylinder version of VWs 15-degree VR6 unit is expected to be used. 
Sources say Piech has ruled out adapting Audis existing V-8 engine.  Said
an insider : "Its just to expensive."

Audi to Mull U.S. plant until 2000 of longer
Kathey Jackson - Staff Reporter
It will be atleast 2000 before Audi AG decides if it will build cars in
the United States.  Norbert Essing, director of press relations for Audi
AG, says volume in the United States will be one of the key factors in any
decision to operate a factory here, as part of the automakers plans to
become a more global producer.  "We want to prove we can come back in the
most important market in the world, but South America is far more
important now for building additional cars," Essing says, adding that a
decision whether to build in Brazil is imminent.  "Brazil is not decided
yet but is close."  Audi now manufactures in South Africa, China, Hungary
and Germany.  The company produces about 500,000 units annually but wants
to increase that number to 700,000 units over the next three years.  "Audi
in the past focused very strongly on Germany, but that must change,"
Essing says.  "Audi will be an international producer far more than in 
the past."  In addition to South America Audi also is considering Asia and
India for production sites this decade.  Essing says Mexico is not under
consideration.  "I think Audi is in a lucky situation at the moment,"
Essing says.  "People are looking for more of an understatement, and this
is what Audi expresses.  It has to be splendid but must have
understatement and be fun."  Audi sales have increased in the United
States the past two years, although they still lag way behind chief
competitors BMW and Merceds-Benz.  Audi U.S. sales - Through August, Audis
U.S. sales are almost equal to the total for all of 1995.  1994 - 12,575,
1995 - 18,124, 1996 - 17,856.  Source: Automotive News Data Center.

Thats all I have for now.


Thomas A. Robbs   bs986@freenet.carleton.ca
1988 90Q          Milwaukee, WI - USA