This week, Audi revealed its new A8 flagship luxury saloon at Barcelona with a true first – Level 3 autonomous driving and Precision Software was keen to hear the supply chain challenges facing the big German luxury car manufacturer in 2017 and beyond.
Audi Chairman, Rupert Stadler said this week, “Electrification and digitisation represent an historic shift. We will play a large part in shaping these changes and will thus further enhance our strong position.” It was announced that Audi will launch one electrified car each year at the beginning of 2018.
Audi increased deliveries by nearly 4% in 2016 and the company is focusing heavily on electrification. The goal of ensuring that every third Audi model will be an electric vehicle and manufacturing new product will place more pressure on the 89,400 employees and the biggest challenge facing Audi’s Supply Chain teams is the new production models for 2018 and its various sites.
This challenge is exacerbated by Audi’s opening of a new global production network at San José Chiapa in Mexico for the production of the Audi Q5. In addition to the Group’s 12 production sites in 10 locations, there is also the Lamborghini factory site and Ducati motorcycle plant in Italy. There are also two Ducati sites in Thailand and Brazil. Audi Brussels will become a key site for manufacturing electric mobility within the Audi Group.
“The biggest logistics challenge for the coming years is digitisation,” said Audi. “It will be crucial that we organise our processes to be fit for the digital age.”
One key strategy for Audi is to move to a more sustainable manufacturing model. “Audi is committed to the sustainable use of raw materials and resources for the conservation of the environment. Audi takes a transparent approach to environmental protection at the company and gets every employee involved in the related activities. As a party to the fifth Bavarian Environmental Pact, AUDI AG is making an important contribution to environmental protection,” they said.
We asked Audi about its policy towards software—does it favor on-premise over cloud logistics solutions? “At present, Audi uses both on-premise software as well as cloud solutions. Fundamentally, we have set ourselves the goal at Audi IT of making new applications cloud-ready right from the start, and of preparing our existing applications for cloud operation, insofar as this makes technical and financial sense,” they said. “In this way, we guarantee the continuation of a stable and sustainable infrastructure for all production processes.”
We asked Audi their opinion of Brexit and whether it has had any knock-on effect in one of its bigger markets—the United Kingdom, where in 2016 Audi sold 177,565 models. Surprisingly, its impact has not yet been felt in new model car sales. “So far we have not noticed any significant change in demand for Audi models in the United Kingdom since the Brexit vote. Audi UK sales in the first months of 2017 confirmed that record level reached in 2016. The impact of Brexit on the entire automobile market over the coming months will depend on how political negotiations will progress.”