Audi—which seems to becoming the favorite car company on this site—and FAW, its jv partner in China, have opened a new 883,000-sq. ft. assembly plant in Changchun. The 100-million euro facility—that’s about $147-million—is for the production of long-wheelbase versions of the A4 (presumably so that they are more limo-like, as buyers in the U.S. may be those who are looking for a high-quality compact while buyers in China are undoubtedly looking for a high-quality non-compact, as they’re not thinking about having a car for taking the kids to soccer practice) and the A5.
The plant will go into full production 14 months after construction began.
The plant utilizes the Audi standardized production system, which features such things as off-line preparation of subcomponents. “Ergonomics also played a central role during the planning phase of the new assembly hall in Changchun,” said Frank Dreves, member of the Board of Management for Production at Audi AG. “Height-adjustable materials-handling technology, for example, enables every one of our employees to maintain an optimal stance for working efficiently.”
Audi is doing well in China, having sold 93,610 vehicles there from January through August, 2009. Compared with the total 119,598 vehicles it sold there in 2008, it is on track for a 17.4% increase.
Here's an overview of the study of assembly plant productivity that gets the undivided attention of all automakers: "The Harbour Report." Although the Big Three companies are getting better, they still have a way to go. But given the levels of competition, better won't be good enough for some plants, it seems.
From the point of view of structural engineering and assembly, electric vehicles are a whole lot simpler than those with internal combustion engines, which probably goes a long way to explain why there are so many startups showing EVs.
This is a 1979 Mercedes-Benz G-Class, the first year the model appeared with its Schwarzeneggerian robustness, which happens to be incased in a block of amber-colored resin: Unlike the insects that are sometimes found encased in actual amber, objects that you can hold in your hand, this object measures 5.50 meters long, 2.55 meters wide and 3.10 meters high.