Audi Steps Up Rivalry With North American Plant & Ducati Acquisition
As part of its expansion plan, Audi is all set to foray into the motorcycle world through the accusation of Italian superbike manufacturer Ducati Motor Holding SpA. The company has also made plans to commence production of cars in North America from 2016 onwards. In more specific terms, the company has visualized a production base in Mexico. The company’s parent firm Volkswagen already has an automotive plant in Puebla and an engine plant in Silao.
Audi had also been studying the possibilities of producing its cars at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee last year. Where the company chooses to build its new plant in Mexico will only be revealed later this year after it has been finalized. A sports-utility vehicle has been planned for production from this plant, from 2016 onwards. Audi sees the current expansion moves as big steps in its rivalry with BMW. The former has plans to overtake the latter as the world’s best-selling luxury-car maker.
Currently in China, Audi has the market held by its reins owing to and early market entry by its parent firm. However, it is in the US, where BMW and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz take the lead, that the brand loses out in terms of sales volume. In 2011, Audi had managed to dethrone Mercedes-Benz as the world’s second-best selling car maker. This was primarily attributed to its heavy presence in the Chinese market as well as solid gains in the US and Europe. The company managed to sell 1.3 million cars last year – this year, with a higher demand for luxury vehicles, Audi expects to do even better.
The rivalry between BMW and Audi is only set to reach an even bitter stage in the coming years. Audi has the added advantage of being able to reap significant economies of scale as part of Volkswagen, which is currently Europe’s largest automaker and the world’s number two, behind General Motors Co. alone. BMW, on the other hand, is the market leader in the premium segment, but its sales relative to Volkswagen’s is not totally impressive.