|January 31, 2005
Five Millionth Audi A6 Leaves Production Line
Shortly after the production start of the new Audi A6 Avant in mid-January, AUDI AG celebrates a notable production landmark with this model: the five millionth A6, an Avant in Silver metallic with a 2.7 TDI engine (132 kW, 180 bhp), left the production line today at Neckarsulm.
"The Audi A6 is a key factor behind the success of Audi and the Neckarsulm plant," declared AUDI AG Member of the Board for Production Dr. Jochem Heizmann. 189,049 units of the Audi A6 were delivered to customers worldwide in 2004 (2003: 176,867). The model's biggest markets are Germany, China and North America. In Europe, the principal export markets are Italy, Great Britain, Spain and France.
Approximately 60 percent of the 13,800-strong Neckarsulm workforce are involved in A6 production or in directly associated tasks, turning out between 700 and 750 vehicles each day. Some 1,800 workers are engaged in building the Chinese version of the A6 at Changchun. Over 46,000 of that model were built there in 2004. Almost one-quarter of the total sales of the new Audi A6 are in China. The new generation of the Audi A6 will be introduced this year at Changchun.
Audi has been building the A6 for 37 years; the model was known as the Audi 100 until 1994. This model represented the company's entrance into the full-size category in 1968: the first two versions had power outputs of 80, 90 and 100 bhp. A sporty counterpart appeared in the autumn of 1970 in the shape of the 115 bhp Audi 100 Coupé S.
The second generation of the Audi 100, appearing in 1976, served as the basis for the new range-topping "Audi 200" model unveiled in the autumn of 1979, featuring luxury equipment, sophisticated technology and high-performance five-cylinder engines.
Audi set new world-best standards of aerodynamics with the third generation, launched in 1982. With the introduction of the fully galvanised body in 1985, Audi then set yet another landmark in this competitive field, demonstrating the qualities of lasting value and a long service life. The Audi 100 now also featured quattro permanent four-wheel drive for the first time.
The fourth generation, brought onto the market in 1990, witnessed the first Audi 100 with a six-cylinder engine. In the autumn of 1991, the S4 and S4 Avant paved the way for the S range of models. The Audi 100 was then renamed "Audi A6" in 1994. The change of name was intended to convey international appeal and clarity.
The first six-cylinder TDI engine and Audi's innovative multitronic continuously variable transmission made their first appearance in the fifth generation. At the start of 2002 quattro GmbH, a subsidiary of AUDI AG, unveiled the RS 6, of which more than 8,000 saloon and Avant versions were sold up until its phasing-out in October 2004. It remains the most powerful Audi production model to date, with an output of 480 bhp.
The A6 adopted a guise suited to off-road use in the Audi allroad quattro, which appeared on the market at the start of 2000 and defined an entire new segment. With its variable-height suspension, air springs and quattro drive, it masters off road conditions adeptly but feels equally at home on normal roads.
The present-day A6 saloon appeared on the market in March 2004. Experts and customers alike acclaimed the new dynamic design, overt sports appeal and high standard of comfort of the 4.92 m long and 1.86 m wide saloon model. There are eleven engine and transmission combinations to choose from, with power outputs ranging from 140 to 335 bhp.
In the year of its launch, 2004, the Audi Neckarsulm plant built over 84,000 of the new A6 saloon. Production of the spacious A6 Avant has now commenced at Neckarsulm. It will be in dealer showrooms from March.
Milestones in the history of the Audi 100/A6
1968 - Audi starts its steady ascent into the full-size category with the launch of the first Audi 100.