Another step toward even greater competitiveness: AUDI AG has invested approximately €40 million in the construction of its Pre-Production Center in Ingolstadt, which was officially opened today following a construction period lasting 18 months. A unique organization form now networks production and technical development, enabling products and processes to be verified earlier than ever.

The five-storey Pre-Production Center is dedicated to optimizing the quality and efficiency of the development processes for new automobiles. The new high-tech facility, which belongs to both the Production and Technical Development divisions, actively supports Audi in the product development and creation process. "The early networking will help us to expand our model range to 40 top-quality models by 2015," says Michael Dick, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development of AUDI AG. The approximately 850 employees who had previously been scattered throughout the entire plant now work together in the center's 32,500 square meters (349,827 square feet) of workshops and offices.

"In order to manufacture more efficiently, we must ensure that the automobiles can also be built reliably under production conditions. We therefore begin addressing production-related concerns as early as the prototype phase," says Frank Dreves, Member of the Board of Management for Production.

The Pre-Production Center offers numerous technical development options. In the "Cave," for example, the feasibility of prototypes can already be verified during the initial concept phase of a product using virtual reality techniques. The design status of the automobile develops in parallel to prototype construction. With virtual technology, construction of the automobile can be systematically simulated long before the first hardware is created. This allows problems to be identified and resolved early on, and production work flows can be designed even more efficiently.

"The shortened communication paths enable the optimal networking of all departments involved in vehicle construction. These are intensively integrated into the construction of the automobile during the project phases prior to the start of series production," says Josef Habla, Head of the Pre-Production Center. An important criterion for networked cooperation was that Technical Development's test vehicle construction and Production's pilot production shop were merged in the Pre-Production Center.

AUDI AG sold a total of 964,151 cars in 2007 and thus achieved its twelfth consecutive record year. With revenue of €33,617 million and profit before tax of €2,915 million, the company attained its best figures ever. Audi produces vehicles in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm (Germany), Györ (Hungary), Changchun (China) and Brussels (Belgium). At the end of 2007, production of the Audi A6 started in Aurangabad, India. The company is active in more than 100 markets worldwide. AUDI AG's wholly owned subsidiaries include Lamborghini S.p.A. in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy, and quattro GmbH in Neckarsulm. Audi employs more than 54,000 people worldwide, including 45,000 in Germany. The brand with the four rings invests more than € 2 billion each year in order to sustain the company's technological lead embodied in its "Vorsprung durch Technik" slogan. Audi plans to significantly increase the number of models in its portfolio by 2015, from the 26 currently on offer to 40.