Audi to open new plant in China in September: report

SHANGHAI: German auto maker Audi plans to open a new plant in China in September to meet fast-growing demand for premium cars in the Asian country, state media reported Monday.

The one-billion-yuan (146.4-million-dollar) plant in the northeastern city of Changchun will double the brand's production capacity in the country to 200,000 units a year, the China Daily reported, citing a company official.

Audi is currently made in China through FAW-Volkswagen Automobile Co, a joint venture with China FAW Group Corp.

The first two models to roll off the new assembly line will be the Audi A4L sedan and Q5 sports utility vehicle, the report said, citing Zhang Xiaojun, deputy general manager of the Audi sales division at the joint venture.

"The new factory is Audi's optimum assembly plant globally which in theory will be able to produce all Audi models," Zhang was quoted as saying.

Audi sold 466,000 vehicles globally in the first half of 2009, with strong demand in China and Germany helping cushion the fall in sales, which were down 9.7 percent for the period.

It delivered a record 66,866 cars, or 14.3 percent of global sales, in China in the first half, an increase of 11 percent from the same period a year earlier.

The carmaker will also aggressively expand its sales network, increasing the number of dealers in the country to more than 210 by 2012 from present 137, the newspaper said.