Audi Neckarsulm Plant to Build R8 Sports Cars in Small-Series Production
Preparations for the production of the new Audi R8 sports car are progressing apace at the Audi Neckarsulm plant. The Audi subsidiary quattro GmbH is investing some 28 million euros in equipment and structural measures at Neckarsulm in order to launch the R8 sports car, which was presented as the Le Mans quattro concept study at the Frankfurt Motor Show three years ago. The R8 will be available at dealerships from mid-2007 onwards.
The short lead time between the decision being made in April 2005 to produce the car at the Neckarsulm plant and the official start of production at the end of 2006 poses a particular challenge to the employees of quattro GmbH and the Planning Department at Neckarsulm. We are establishing an innovative small-series production facility especially geared to the requirements of the Audi R8, says Albrecht Reimold, Head of Planning at Neckarsulm. Work was completed on converting a suitable hall situated at the centre of the plant at the end of March. The plant equipment and new conveyor technology will be installed by the end of July. A range of new logistics concepts are also being planned. The start of the pre-series will see the body construction, assembly and logistics areas for the Audi R8 moving into the new production hall. The car will be finished together with the RS models of quattro GmbH.
The R8 will be manufactured entirely by hand. This means that the employees must be highly-qualified and have a lot of experience, explains Werner Frowein, Managing Director of quattro GmbH. Therefore, that many employees involved in technical development and the prototype construction area will be involved in the series production of the Audi R8. Certain employees have already been able to acquire the special skills required for the construction of exclusive sports cars in the start-up phase of the Lamborghini Gallardo.
All the 250 employees involved in the production of the R8 will participate in a special qualification and motivation programme prior to model production.
The Neckarsulm plant has many areas of competence which will play a role in the production of the new sports car, for example the expertise of the Aluminium and Lightweight Design Centre Neckarsulm in the use of aluminium for the development of the body. As is already the case on the Audi A8 and the A2, Audi will be implementing intelligent lightweight construction technology on this model too.
The Audi Toolmaking Shop will be supplying the tools and equipment required from its locations in Neckarsulm and Ingolstadt. The body will be painted together with the Audi A8 and the Lamborghini Gallardo in the paint shop of the Neckarsulm plant. The Neckarsulm plant can once more prove its pioneering spirit and its competence in the production of high-quality, sporty premium vehicles with this sports car, comments Plant Manager Jürgen Lunemann.