While Audi hasn’t packed up their bags and left the German landscape behind they do have some movement toward North America that will bring the development and assembly of at least one model much closer to the largest market for their Q5 SUV in the world. Since we as consumers in the US purchase more Audi SUVs than in any other market in the world it makes sense to have the Q5 built somewhere in North America and right now the most affordable place for automakers to build vehicles is in Mexico, which is exactly where this new plant has been built to produce the Audi Q5.
The factory for Audi is located in San Jose Chiapa in the federal state of Puebla in Mexico. This plant will be able to produce nearly 150,000 vehicles per year and by the end of this year the plant will employ as many as 4,200 workers to create a serious economic boom for the area. While we’ve seen other automakers build plants in Mexico, including Volkswagen, Ford, GM and even FCA, this event marks the first premium or luxury brand to have a vehicle built in a facility that’s been placed in Mexico.
Most automakers have spent time building new facilities in areas that are closest to the largest market for their vehicles. While this investment for any automaker means a huge monetary investment up front it pays off in the end with lower shipping costs to move vehicles from the assembly plant to the market. Audi is taking advantage of both the lower cost of production in Mexico and a closeness to the US market with this new plant but this did cost them a $1.12 billion investment to create this new facility and make it ready for the Q5 to be able to be assembled here.
Not only will the vehicles be assembled, this factory offers a press shop, body shop, paint shop and an assembly line to produce the number of Q5 models needed for those customer north of the Mexican border. This factory covers 988 acres and was built in only three and a half years, which is significantly fast for a factory that’s as advanced as this one is. How advanced is it? The factor uses various water treatment methods and new application technologies in the paint shop to ensure the plant is completely free of wastewater. The new equipment of this plant helps to reduce the water, gas and electricity typically consumed by any factory.
Will other luxury brands make a similar move in the future? It’s possible, and some already have with Mercedes-Benz having a plant in Alabama. We’ve seen this trend begin several years ago and it seems to make sense to continue to have vehicle built where they will be sold for the long term savings it can bring. Starting next year when you look at the Audi Q5 you’ll be looking at a vehicle that’s been built by your neighbors in Mexico at this amazing new facility.