Gernot Döllner, the new boss of Audi, is considering structural changes that could have an impact on the production of the Q8 e-tron in Brussels. In the future, the brand’s largest electric SUV could be manufactured in China and Mexico. This is not good news for the factory’s employees.
Audi wants to reduce its production costs
Audi plans to stop European production of its Q8 e-tron. If Markus Duesmann, the former boss of the German brand, had every intention of keeping the manufacturing of the large model in Brussels, Gernot Döllner does not see it that way. The successor to the electric SUV, planned for 2026, could see its manufacturing lines relocated either to China or to Mexico.
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According to Automobile Weekthe man at the head of the famous ringed brand intends to pursue his strategy aimed at “ lighten the business and make it more efficient “. And this logically implies better use of factories.
The current Q8-e-tron is in reality already surpassed by its competitors from a technological point of view and the Brussels factory is not used to its maximum capacity. Even with the future PPE platform, Audi management does not believe that the Belgian factory could be a possible option. Production costs in Europe are “ too high » and production abroad would be advantageous.
Audi Brussels factory in danger?
Internally, there is talk of production of the Q8 e-tron in Mexico to serve the United States and Europe. Audi already has its own factory in the country. This is where the Q5 plug-in hybrid is built. For the Chinese market, the model would be assembled in Changchun, central China. If no official decision has yet been taken, the future of the Q8 e-tron in Brussels is more uncertain than ever.
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Beyond this simple model, the entire Brussels factory is worried. Since the Q4 e-tron will likely continue to be manufactured in Germany’s Zwickau, the Belgian production site could be left without any other vehicles to produce. Despite its factory status “ certified for its C02 neutral production “, the future of Audi Brussels is perhaps already at stake.
Audi Brussels factory in danger? Nothing is done, but in any case, the unions are worried. Nearly 3,000 people work on the site and it seems that they no longer quite fit into the plans of the new boss of the brand. In 2022, the factory was awarded the production of 40,000 Q4 e-trons. Missed ! The low demand for electric vehicles at Audi pushed management to cancel this decision. I still find it a shame to have invested so much money to convert this historic factory to electric in 2018, then to abandon it barely ten years later. Especially when we know the efforts made by the teams on site to make this production site CO2 neutral. The factory notably has a gigantic park of 37,000 m² of photovoltaic panels. I had the opportunity to visit Audi Brussels and I admit that I feel a feeling of sadness imagining a potential closure. It would also be a hard blow for European automobile production.
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