Confused yet? That makes both of us, but here’s what we know: Audi wants to build models in the United States. When their sales volume gets to around 150,000 units per year, having a U.S. factory becomes key to Audi’s next sales goal, which is 200,000 units per year in America. In 2010, Audi sold just under 102,000 vehicles here, and they’re on track to have a better year in 2011. Give the time it takes to build a factory and ramp up production, Audi is already cutting things close. They’ve yet to identify a site, and they haven’t even begun the discussion on which model(s) to build here. Or have they?
It’s no secret that VW’s new plant in Chattanooga, TN has room for expansion, and Audi head Rupert Stadler has already boasted that they could build an Audi model at the VW plant within six months. Since Porsche is now part of the VW family, that plan could expand to include a Porsche crossover (the upcoming Cajun, perhaps) as well. Audi, Porsche and VW are also said to be working on an entry level, front-engine, rear drive roadster; could that be the model destined for Chattanooga?
No one knows for sure, and Audi isn’t saying. Just last month, Audi committed to a decision on whether or not to build a plant here by next June, which means that Audi is playing their cards close to the vest. This much is clear: Audi will either build a U.S. plant or they’ll borrow capacity from VW. One way or another, look for a U.S. built Audi by mid-decade.