Audi Looks to the Southeast For Its New Plant

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler told Automotive News that Audi is yet again planning on building a plant in the United States and it appears that all of the prospective sites are in the Southeast.  The two major players in the race are Chattanooga, TN and Huntsville, AL, although Tennessee seems to have much deeper pockets especially since their acquisition of the $1 billion Volkswagen plant.

Tennessee offered Audi a $577.4 million incentive to Audi to set up camp there while Alabama simply doesn’t have that type of incentive available even though Audi officials are looking to Huntsville as the frontrunner.  With over a half billion in incentives from Tennessee, plus the added capability of being able to share suppliers with Volkswagen to reduce costs, Chattanooga makes the race very interesting.  While that may seem clear cut, you also have to consider that Alabama has a far more deeper understanding of the automotive industry since they have plants from Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai under their belt and that’s a huge advantage that Tennessee does not have.

Brian Hilson, CEO of the Birmingham Business Alliance is convinced that Huntsville has the upper hand. “Given the success Alabama has had with major automotive plants — Mercedes, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai — we are well-positioned in that the companies understand we as a state ‘get it.’ We understand their industry,” Hilson said. “We have a second-to-none work force capable of responding to the unique needs of automotive assembly. That premise ought to give us the potential to be a contender.”

Audi isn’t planning on making a final decision until 2013, but it’s already adding up to be an interesting race. The benefits to Atlanta Audi dealers should also be evident in the form of transport reduction costs, but that’s still yet to be seen in the auto industry since most makes are still struggling to recover from the effects of the hit they took a few years back and the current uphill battle with gas prices that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

Where do you think Audi should set up camp?

  1. My choice is Mitsubishi. Nice car. Dependable and good working machine. World is changing day by day and car and its changing is very fast as a revelation.

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