Audi shows top tech at Beijing gala
Updated: 2012-05-07 16:37
By Zhuan Ti (China Daily)
The RS Q3 concept made its global debut at the Beijing Auto Show that ended last week. Photos Provided to China Daily
Executive: Carmaker 'feels the importance of China'
The brand concept of historic German luxury carmaker Audi AG, Vorsprung durch Technick - or Progress through Technology - was again demonstrated by its product display at the 10-day Beijing Auto Show.
The carmaker brought 22 models to the motoring gala in the capital city that drew about 800,000 visitors from April 23 to May 2.
Audi's large display featured the global debut of its A6L e-tron concept, the RS Q3 concept and the Q3 jinlong yufeng. The RS5, the S8, the S7 Sportback and the A4 allroad quattro were exhibited in Asia for the first time.
The company also showcased its all-new Audi A6L, the A8L Hybrid, the flagship A8L W12, the A1 China edition and the high-performance cabriolet R8 Spyder 5.2 FSI quattro.
"We are here with three world premieres and four Asian premieres. I think no other carmaker is showing such a strong commitment to the Chinese market," said Dominique Boesch, president of the Audi Sales Division at Sino-German joint venture FAW Volkswagen.
Audi's advanced technologies in lightweight cars, connectivity and electric powertrains were well presented through the products, the company said.
The Audi A6L e-tron concept - a plug-in hybrid vehicle based on the popular A6L - can run 80 km with zero emissions solely on electricity from a single charge. It uses Audi ultra - the carmaker's proven future lightweight construction technology - to produce a sturdy yet light body.
The Audi ultra technology generally makes a car more nimble and speedy while reducing fuel consumption.
The car is tailor-built for Chinese customers. It has large rear passenger space, multiple safety and assistance systems, a navigation system that can identify Chinese handwriting and infotainment devices with localized improvements.
The Audi Q3 jinlong yufeng, -which means golden dragon riding the wind - is designed as a tribute to the Year of Dragon with exterior and interior featuring Chinese elements. It has a glaze-like yellow exterior, the traditional royal color in China, while using black, gray and yellow in the interior.
The SUV is not only strong in its inline five cylinder engine, but also powerful in innovative networking equipment using Audi connect technologies.
An example is two portable Audi-cam cameras on the trunk that can stream photos to the car through a wireless network and send them to others using an on-board Bluetooth smartphone.
Boesch said that the company will invest at least 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) every year over the next four years in Audi ultra, e-tron and connect technologies and new models. He noted that a large portion of the investments will flow into China, the company's biggest market.
Audi is now the No 1 premium carmaker in China by sales. The country became the company's biggest market last year when deliveries surpassed 300,000 units.
Boosted by strong demand in the country, Audi had its strongest quarterly sales in its history in the first three months of this year. It sold nearly 90,000 cars in China during the period, a 41 percent increase over the first quarter last year.
The company last year announced an ambitious target to sell 1 million vehicles in China from 2011 to 2013. From its strong performance to date, market observers believe the target is likely to be achieved well ahead of schedule.
Audi now produces the A4L, A6L and Q5 at its joint venture FAW Volkswagen in northeastern city of Changchun, Jilin province. Annual production capacity is about 300,000 units.
It plans to build more models at local facilities, including the Q3 SUV set to start local production next year in Changchun and the A3 scheduled to begin production at a new plant in Foshan, Guangdong province. Its annual output in China is expected to more than double to 700,000 units by 2015.
"We believe and we feel the importance of China as our second home market," Boesch said.
He added that Audi has the best system for localization of technology and components in China, which can be seen in state-of-the-art locally made models.
The all-new Audi A6L that hit the market earlier this year employs so-called micro hybrid technologies, including energy-regeneration and automatic start-stop systems.
The company said that the same devices will be used in all locally built Audi cars at the joint venture in the next two years.
Audi previously vowed to bring all of its models to China by 2015, most of them imports. It sees enormous growth potential because currently only about 20 percent of Audis sold in China are imported models.
The RS5 and the A4 allroad quattro that made their Asian debut at the Beijing auto show will both be imported to China later this year. Audi will also start imports of the Q3 to the Chinese market in the next few months.