August 4, 2002
Change of generation in Audi A8 production at Neckarsulm: today the last A8 in the current model series, a silver Audi A8 2.8 quattro (142 kW/193 bhp), left the assembly line at the Audi plant in Neckarsulm. A total of 105,092 of this model have been built since 1994. The employees said goodbye to this successful flagship at a photo session. Following a brief conversion phase in assembly, volume production of the new A8 will commence in August.
As a newcomer to the top market segment, the Audi A8 succeeded in establishing itself as a fully paid-up member within a few years thanks to its technical innovation, sports appeal and dynamic characteristics. “The A8 is the only luxury saloon in the world with quattro drive and an aluminium body,” said plant manager Otto Lindner.
Since 1994 the Audi A8 has been presented with a number of important awards, including the following: the “Golden Steering Wheel” by “Bild am Sonntag” (Germany) in 1994, the “Auto Design Award” by the Institute of British Carriage and Automobile Manufacturers also in 1994, “Best Luxury Car” twice in 1996, by “Car and Driver” (Hong Kong) and by the “Auto Illustrierte” (Switzerland), with the “Auto Trophy” for the most comfortable touring saloon by the “Auto Zeitung” (Germany) in 1997 and 1998 and “Best Car of 1998″ by the readers of “auto motor and sport” (Germany).
Two years ago Audi extended its long-standing aluminium expertise, which is concentrated at the Neckarsulm Aluminium Centre, to large-scale production with the launch of the compact Audi A2. So far a total of more than 200,000 A8 and A2 cars with aluminium bodies have been produced and delivered to customers.
A new generation of aluminium vehicles will be launched in the autumn with the successor to the Audi A8. With its compelling handling, pioneering technology and exclusive design and equipment, the new Audi A8 embodies “the new sporting dimension in the luxury segment”. The Audi Space Frame concept (ASF) has been further refined. “New techniques and our experience from the production of the aluminium A2 have been channelled into the development of the new A8,” explains Dr. Wolfgang Ruch, Head of the Neckarsulm Aluminium Centre.
“As an image booster, the Audi A8 has played a decisive part in establishing the Audi brand in the premium segment,” says Manfred Sewenig, Head of A8 Product Marketing. Thanks to continual model updating measures, the current A8 has remained up to date in terms of technology and design, right to the end of its model life. Apart from the aluminium body, its innovative technologies have included in particular TDI engines with a displacement of 2.5 or 3.3 litres, the 309 kW/420 bhp 12-cylinder engine, quattro drive, the sporty tiptronic transmission and air conditioning with sun sensor.