A4.Org Travels to Audi AG in Ingolstadt, Germany.

A new '99 A4 with the mid-year improvements is shown off at the Audi Forum.

Article by Jason Teller
Photos by Matt Daniels

If you are a big-time baseball fan then Cooperstown would get you excited. Similarly, an outdoors enthusiast would feel great accomplishment when standing at the top of Mt. Everest. I don't know if visiting the headquarters of an auto manufacturer should be put in the same classification, but our recent trip to visit Audi AG in southern Germany sure felt like a world-class achievement.

The excitement starts right at Munich's Franz-Josef Strauß Airport with the newly built Munich Audi Forum. There, in the middle of a hussle-bussle airport, lies a sparkling Audi showroom, boutique, lounge and conference center. We were literally 45 minutes removed from our Atlantic crossing and were able to see the improved '99 A4 in all its glory.

Adrenaline builds as you approach Ingolstadt. This is, after all, the very place where A4's are brought to life. Ingolstadt itself looks like a typical small German city, but about 2km towards the middle you run into the beginning of the sprawling Audi complex. Each numbered and marked with signs indicating what task is going on inside, there is literally a small town of buildings. Some areas are off limits, of course, and these are guarded by employee-only gates. A quick tour around reveals a museum, design center, Audi Zentrum and what is obviously the outside boundaries of some very large production buildings.

Two bright yellow S4 Avants at the Audi Center in Ingolstadt.

What impresses you immediately upon driving into Ingolstadt is that there are a lot of Audi vehicles on the road. In fact, it is difficult to exagerate about how many Audi's we saw everywhere. Many A3's (which of course are not available in North America), A4's, A6's, A8's, TT's and everything in-between. Older models, high performance "S" cars, unique colors and more Audi wheel types then can be imagined were around each in every corner. In the first few minutes every S4 sighting is a thrill; by two hours later you've seen so many S4 variations that you've lost count. The experience is overwhelming and we loved every second of it!

A three hour drive northwest brings you to Neckarsulm, Audi's other German production facility. The A6, A8 and Cabriolet are all built in Neckarsulm. The same Audi-overload phenomenon greets visitors to Neckarsulm. The main difference is that appears that Neckarsulm is more production focused (as opposed to Ingolstadt with it's museum and other public buildings). Interesting facts about Neckarsulm: there is a nuclear power plant in the city (you pass it on your way from the highway to Audi's plant) and there are a lot more employee access gates in the complex then there are in Ingolstadt.

Overall our trip was satisfying on both the personal Audi-enthusiast level and the professional website production level. We took lots of notes and many pictures while researching content for A4.Org. Please watch this area for ongoing articles regarding the trip.

Our itinerary while in Germany:

Wednesday, February 3rd
    1. Arrival
    2. Munich Audi Forum at airport
    3. Our Audi-provided A6
    4. Ingolstadt
Thursday, February 4th
    1. Audi Center
    2. Production Tour
    3. Lunch with Product Support team
    4. A4 Brand Management team meeting
    5. MTM tour/visit
    6. Dinner with Public Relations/Press
Friday, February 5th
    1. Neckarsulm Tour
    2. Saw new A6 with V8 engine
Saturday, February 6th
    1. Shopping
    2. Deutsches Museum
    3. Laser show at Planetarium

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