Audi, Mercedes make big changes to European car assembly footprint

UPDATED: July 14: Magna Steyr adds Jaguar E-Pace

Audi and Mercedes-Benz have been busy adapting their European vehicle production footprints to steadily increase their model lines as both aim to be the world’s top-selling premium automaker by 2020.

Audi’s plant in Ingolstadt, Germany, started output of the new Q2 in July, making the Volkswagen Group subsidiary the first premium brand to offer a subcompact-sized crossover. Production of the Audi Q2 will be gradually increased to approximately 450 units a day. It is the 13th model series offered by Audi.

Audi announced other big moves this year that will affect its output in Belgium, Hungary and Spain. Starting in 2018, Audi will start volume production of an electric SUV in Brussels and move assembly of its A1 subcompact model line from Belgium to sister brand Seat’s plant in Martorell, Spain. At the same time production of the Audi Q3 crossover will move from Martorell to Audi's factory in Gyor, Hungary.

Mercedes announced in July it would build a second plant at its site in Kecskemet, Hungary, to make front-wheel- and rear-wheel-drive cars. Production at the new factory is set to start by the end of the decade, Mercedes said without being more specific. It currently makes the Mercedes B class, CLA and CLA Shooting Brake compact-sized front-wheel-drive cars in Hungary.

In late June, Mercedes expanded its factory in Bremen, Germany, to 10 models with the addition of the GLC Coupe. It was the second all-new model to be launched in Bremen this year after the C-class cabriolet, which Mercedes started assembling in mid-June. Mercedes also makes the C-class sedan, station wagon and coupe, the E-class coupe and cabriolet, the GLC crossover as well as the SL and SLC roadsters in Bremen.

Audi and Mercedes have said they want to pass BMW brand by 2020 to become the world’s top-selling premium automaker.

More than 145 plants

Overall, Volkswagen Group and Renault-Nissan continue to have the largest production footprints in Europe. The two companies have a combined 42 vehicle assembly plants in Europe and Russia, according to data from Automotive News Europe.

This year’s map features the most current data available on more than 145 plants, based on extensive research by ANE. To find out about the vehicles made at these plants check out ANE’s interactive assembly plant map.

Sponsored by ElringKlinger, the map is the go-to resource to help stay on top of all of the changes. The data is continually updated to reflect the changes taking place at some of the most powerful automakers in the world.

Karin B. Holly contributed

You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at dbolduc@crain.com.