Home to the Audi A4 Saloon, Audi A6, Audi A7 and the Audi A8, Neckarsulm also builds the high-performance Audi RS 6, Audi R8 and Audi R8 Spyder through subsidiary quattro GmbH. The Audi Forum Neckarsulm offers its visitors a fascinating automotive experience.
Car manufacturing where the Neckar and Sulm rivers meet dates back more than a century with knitting machinery manufacturer Neckarsulmer Strickmaschinenfabrik, which later merged with Auto Union GmbH in 1969. Audi NSU AUTO UNION AG eventually changed its name to AUDI AG in 1985 and has maintained a facility in Neckarsulmer ever since.
Technical Development at Neckarsulm is focused on lightweight body construction, interiors, as well as gas and diesel engines. Sport engine development is also based here, and the results achieved by the Lightweight Design Centre at Neckarsulm have already led to patents running into three figures and numerous international awards. In addition, the inventors of the Audi Space Frame (ASF) lightweight body construction concept produce leading-edge work in the field of fibre composites on location. The site celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2009.
The manufacturing facilities at the Neckarsulm site comprise a new press shop, one aluminum-and-steel and two pure aluminum bodyAluminum BodyThe Audi A8 is the first North American car with an aluminum body built according to the Audi Space Frame® principle. Aluminum Body shops, a paint shop and multiple assembly lines. The plant achieved an all-time record in 2010, when production rose by 20.5% to 335,083 vehicles. The Audi A8 production operations feature both a new logistics concept and an intelligent mix of materials: new joining techniques are used in the body shop to allow various aluminum alloys to be combined with high-strength steel. The result is lighter vehicle bodies, a 25% increase in body rigidityRigiditySufficiently high static and dynamic body stiffness are prerequisites for many desirable vehicle characteristics.Rigidity and a 20% gain in the strength-to-weight ratio. The assembly line at Neckarsulm handles highly complex electronics with proficiency and also achieves very high vehicle interior design standards.
At the Neckarsulm site, a commitment to environmental production is enshrined in the Audi Production System (APS) as one of its fundamental principles. Despite an increasing variety of models and growing production volumes, Audi has been able to reduce the specific energy requirement by around 20% in the last five years alone. Since 1995, the plant has been revalidated annually under the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). And, as usual, Audi has also gone the extra step by producing environmentally aware motor sport vehicles,using highly efficient diesel engines, ensuring energy recovery in the Engine Centre, and manufacturing acoustically optimized test rigs.
Focused entirely on the Audi R8, Audi RS models, Audi exclusive and Audi design lifestyle articles, Audi subsidiary quattro GmbH serves to promote the emotional component of the Audi brand. Established in 1983, quattro GmbH builds the Audi R8 and Audi R8 Spyder precision sports cars at Neckarsulm. Another key area of activity for quattro GmbH is the manufacturing of Audi e-tron models in small production runs, and a small production series of the first purely electric Audi will hit the streets in late 2012.
Since opening in May 2005, the Audi Forum Neckarsulm has attracted over 1,000,000 visitors, whether to buy new car or to attend one of the many events it has hosted. In 2010 it held 670 events and hosted nearly 4,000 factory tours. In response to the rising number of visitors, at the start of 2011 the Audi Forum increased the capacity of its Car Delivery Centre.