July 12, 2001

Audi has built more than 150,000 aluminum cars


From aluminum pioneer to volume production: Audi has now built more than 150,000 vehicles with aluminum body - including over 93,000 Audi A8 and just under 57,000 A2 models. This represents a further milestone in the success story of lightweight construction at Audi.

Audi has been conducting intensive research and development work connected to the materialaluminum for more than 16 years and has consequently built up exceptional know-how in this field. This work has produced a significant reduction in weight and a revolutionary new approach for vehicle design and production: Audi Space Frame (ASF). This is a high-strength aluminum frame structure into which the large aluminum panels are integrated where they have a load-bearing effect.

In 1994 this knowledge was applied to volume production: the Audi A8 was the first production saloon with an aluminum body. At the end of 1994 Audi concentrated its expertise in the field of lightweight construction at its Neckarsulm site and erected an aluminum center there at a cost of around DM 15 million. 100 or so members of staff now employed there work especially on the development ofaluminum production vehicles. They are concerned in particular with optimising components and processes for volume application in ASF technology.

This development work has produced visible results: The Audi A2 with the second-generation ASF was launched in mid-2000. This, the first volume-built aluminum car, required techniques, processes, tools and production methods to be developed from scratch or modified. The Audi A2 1.2 TDI followed in June this year, the first five-door "three-litre" car (meaning one that consumes just three litres of fuel per 100 km) that makes no compromises in terms of space, comfort and driveability.