Team Spirit campaign: Audi donates EUR 52,000 to support art and cultural associations

With its Team Spirit campaign, Audi has been putting the spotlight on the involvement of Audi employees on the occasion of international volunteer day (December 5) since 2018. The campaign took place at both sites, Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, for the first time this year, and the awards ceremony was completely digital due to coronavirus restrictions. The plant managers for Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, Achim Heinfling and Helmut Stettner, acted as mentors for the Team Spirit campaign.

Sabine Maassen, Member of the Board of Management for Human Resources and Organization of AUDI AG, says: “As a major employer, we practice social responsibility at our sites and support our employees with their involvement in volunteering. We consider this an expression of the values for which we stand as a company. By placing the focus of our Team Spirit campaign on ‘arts and culture’ this year, we are putting the spotlight on an area of public life that has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic I am looking forward to seeing the projects that our donations will help to implement in the future.”

Peter Mosch, Chairman of the General Works Council of Audi: “The numerous applications this year show just how varied and diverse volunteering in the areas of in culture, tradition, and sports can be. I am impressed by how much passion Audi employees put into their clubs, associations, and initiatives during their free time. During the coronavirus pandemic, this work is especially deserving of our recognition, respect, and support. Many thanks to all who work for cohesion at Audi and in our society.”

Audi employees had until the beginning of October to submit a freely designed collage offering an insight into club life and activities to apply for “their” association. The donations committees at the company sites in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm received 15 applications from

Ingolstadt and 9 from Neckarsulm which they reviewed and deemed worthy of a donation. All associations will receive a donation in the amount of EUR 2,000 each, and seven associations will receive an additional EUR 500 for submitting particularly creative applications. KreativTeam Mal-Labor e.V. from Aresing in the Neuburg-Schrobenhausen municipal district was selected for a special prize of EUR 500: The association enables disadvantaged children to take art classes free of charge. “Especially in this difficult situation, Audi is making an important contribution to establishing a cultural offering in our region,” says Audi employee Ralf Gürtner, who had applied for a donation for KreativTeam Mal-Labor e.V. Jennifer Ferreira Schmidt, First Chairwoman of Jugend-Sinfonieorchester Neckarsulm e.V. (Youth Symphonic Orchestra Neckarsulm), emphasizes: “We are looking ahead and already starting to make plans for new concerts in the coming year. The donation from Audi will help us to finance sheet music and instruments and to assist our members in cases of social hardship.”

As a good “corporate citizen,” AUDI AG is taking social responsibility at its production locations. For example, the automotive brand with the four rings supports regional social projects and non-profit organizations with donations or in the form of team campaigns as part of their “Audi Volunteers” initiative. The main focus in 2020 was on donations in connection with the continuing coronavirus pandemic. For example, around 300 Audi laptops were donated at the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm sites to enable children from lower income families to take part in digital classes. The company is also investing EUR 50,000 to sponsor a study that analyzes the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on children and childcare facilities.

Recipients of donations in Ingolstadt:

  • Bahnhof lebt! e.V.
  • Faschingsgesellschaft Silbania Altmannstein e.V.
  • Hallertauer Volkstrachtenverein Siegenburg e.V.
  • Königlich privilegierte Feuerschützengesellschaft Kösching
  • KreativTeam Mal-Labor e.V.
  • Künstler an die Schulen e.V.
  • Kunst und Kultur Bastei e.V.
  • Kunstzentrum Besondere Menschen gUG
  • Rennertshofener Theaterfreunde e.V.
  • Sport-Club Irgertsheim e.V.
  • Stadtkapelle Eichstätt e.V.
  • Stadtkapelle Vohburg e.V.
  • Tango in Ingolstadt e.V.
  • TSV Unsernherrn e.V.
  • VIVA LA MUSICA Chor- und Orchestergemeinschaft Gaimersheim e. V.

Recipients of donations in Neckarsulm:

  • Harmonika-Club Neckarsulm e.V.
  • Jugend-Sinfonieorchester Neckarsulm e.V.
  • Kolping-Blasorchester Offenau
  • Kolpingsfamilie Neckarsulm e.V.
  • Kreatief – Kultur im Unterland e.V.
  • Kulturverein Kasinogesellschaft 1835-2.0 e.V.
  • Musikverein 1863 Limbach e.V.
  • Musikverein Oedheim e.V.
  • Scouts-Chor der kath. Kirche, St. Johannes

Audi increases budget for electromobility up to 2025

“With the investment planning that has now been carried out, we are making Audi stronger for the upcoming transformation of the core business. Technological leadership in electric-powered and fully networked driving is the aim of the supervisory board and management board. We are providing Audi with the necessary resources for this,” says Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of AUDI AG.

“The investments approved today for enhancing Audi’s forward-looking themes of electrification, hybrid technology and digitalization are extremely important for us in this transformation. They secure the technological leadership of the Group. This benefits us in many projects, and also in creating high-quality jobs. The Audi sites at Neckarsulm and Ingolstadt will derive long-term advantages from this. That is a decisive factor for us as employee representatives,” emphasized Peter Mosch, Vice Chairman of the Supervisory Board of AUDI AG and Chairman of the General Works Council of AUDI AG.

Electrification and hybridization

From 2021 to 2025 AUDI AG plans spending on research and development and on investments in fixed assets of about € 35 billion. Almost € 17 billion is allocated by the premium manufacturer to vehicle projects and innovative vehicle technologies alone, in order to newly energize the brand promise of “Vorsprung durch Technik”.

The total sum of development costs takes account of comprehensive synergies in the Group. For example, the development and implementation of the electric platforms takes place across the brands. Here Audi is developing together with Porsche the premium platform electric (PPE); at the same time, Audi uses the Group technology of the modular electrification platform (MEB). On the basis of the investment planning, upfront expenditure in the years 2021 to 2025 focuses on the uncompromising implementation of Roadmap E, with a large-scale product offensive for fully and partly electric models. For electrification alone, a sum of approximately € 15 billion – more than 40 percent of the total expenditure – is foreseen in the context of the planning round. Specifically, some € 10 billion is to be devoted to electromobility and € 5 billion to hybridization. By 2025 AUDI AG will expand its e-portfolio to about 30 models, of which approximately 20 will be powered entirely by electric batteries. 

Digitalization and Car.Software organization

In digitalization, too, Audi benefits from cooperation in the Group, and will now exploit this competitive advantage even more efficiently. In software development, Audi CEO Markus Duesmann is now taking over as chairman at the Car.Software-Organization, which combines and extends the knowhow of the brands.

In this way the Group’s own software unit is creating a unified operating system with basic functions for all vehicles of the Group. The tasks of the Car.Software-Organization also include further development of functions for automated driving.

“Our investment planning tells a clear story: we are not cutting back on the substance of products, and are giving full priority to expenditure on electromobility and software development,” says Markus Duesmann, CEO of AUDI AG. “The thorough-going focus on group synergies for these central future themes is an important key to success.”

Audi Transformation Plan and Audi.Zukunft

Thanks to an optimization of the product portfolio in order to become more efficient and lean, reduced complexity in internal processes, and improvements in fixed costs, the Audi brand is in a solid financial position. There will be substantial efficiency gains from the Audi Transformation Plan (ATP) and the Audi.Zukunft basic agreement. The ATP alone has released more than € 6.5 billion since the program started three years ago. Despite a challenging environment caused by the coronavirus pandemic this year, AUDI AG continues to focus clearly on the aim of achieving a cumulative sum of some € 15 billion by 2022 through this program. In addition, the Audi.Zukunft agreement lays down foundations of a strong market position for AUDI AG, secure jobs, and profitable company sites. Through the planned expenditures, the sites in Germany, too, will remain thoroughly competitive and well positioned for the future.

Arno Antlitz, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Finance and Legal Affairs, says “With the Audi Transformation Plan and Audi.Zukunft we are making our company fit for the future. Both of these programs secure our financial basis for continuing investment in future technologies and thus for a decisive contribution to shaping the transformation of the automotive industry.”

Audi is using augmented reality to increase efficiency in logistics planning

The “LayAR” system (for “layout” and “augmented reality”) supports Audi logistics planners when setting up new logistics structures in an existing production hall. The software makes use of existing CAD data for various objects, such as shelves, containers, and parts. LayAR visualizes this “digital twin” as a three‑dimensional hologram in the AR device and projects it in life size in the actual environment.

“We use digital technologies systematically in Audi Production where they provide us with true Vorsprung,” says Peter Kössler, Board of Management member for Production and Logistics. This year, the AR devices have become a permanent part of the logistics planners’ “toolbox.” Through this, their work is made more efficient and can begin significantly earlier: For example, experts in the Ingolstadt body shop are currently planning machine technology for using an innovative driverless transport system, long before the first automated guided vehicles will be delivered. LayAR will soon also be used for setting up the production of electric vehicles in the main plant.

“In order to visualize structures and relative sizes up to now, we have been using in‑house prototypes of containers, shelves, and lines elaborately affixed to the floor,” says project manager Tobias Brigl. “This calls for a great deal of imagination. Augmented reality is an ideal tool to close the gap between the real and the virtual worlds.” It helps to recognize problems early on and to develop solutions quickly.

The same images are shown on multiple AR devices at the same time through synchronization. If a user reaches for an object, they can move it, turn it, or replace it with simple movements of their hands. All involved can see changes in real time. The shared image simplifies discussion and thus facilitates working together – even beyond the boundaries of sites and national borders. In the future, specialists from other plants or who are working from home can be included in decision‑making by web conferences.

A Supply Chain Planning project team tested the new software together with development partner Viscopic for a number of months. It is being used during planning workshops in the production hall, during presentations, and in layout discussions in the office. LayAR makes it possible for planners to virtually miniaturize the entire setup of the hall to the point where it can be projected onto a desk. A virtual tool facilitates precise measurement of distances and areas directly in the holographic image. All changes and results, for example from a workshop, can then be transferred into the CAD data in as little as a couple of seconds. This means that all participating employees can immediately continue to work using the new planning status.

The premium carmaker is also using mixed reality in other areas: Audi Product Communications has already been using “virtual exhibits” for several years to visualize technical processes and complex technologies for journalists. The holographic animations are based on CAD design data and are presented in 3D using HoloLens data devices during press events. Second‑generation devices are being used in this case as well. 

Audi to compete in Dakar Rally

“A multifaceted commitment to motorsport is and will remain an integral part of Audi’s strategy,” says Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management and Board of Management Member for Technical Development and Product Lines at AUDI AG. “We want to continue demonstrating the brand’s slogan ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ in international top-level motorsport in the future and develop innovative technologies for our road cars. The toughest rally in the world is the perfect stage for this.”

After many international successes in a wide range of categories, Audi is thus returning to rallying, which marked the beginning of the brand’s successful history in motorsport. From 1981, the Audi quattro revolutionized rallying. Today, permanent four-wheel drive is a standard, not only for rally cars. It also guarantees maximum safety in the sportiest Audi production models, and now also electrically in the e-tron models.

With the use of an alternative drive concept in the Dakar Rally, Audi is now facing up to the most extreme conditions. The vehicle will be driven by a powerful electric drivetrain. The energy required for this comes from a high-voltage battery, which can be charged as required while driving via an energy converter in the form of a highly efficient TFSI engine. The aim is to permanently improve the performance of the electric drivetrain and the battery in the years to come. The experience gained in this process should then be incorporated into the further development of future electrified production models. 

Audi is the first car manufacturer that has committed to develop a viable alternative drive concept for the Dakar Rally, making it a pioneer in motorsport once again. In 2012, Audi achieved the first victory of a hybrid racing car in the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro remained unbeaten in the world’s most important endurance race three times in a row.

Since 2014, Audi has also been successful in fully-electric racing with Formula E. First in a supporting role for the team of its longstanding partner ABT Sportsline, and from 2017 with full factory involvement. After six years, the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team is the most successful entry in the history of Formula E with a total of 43 podium finishes, including twelve victories. Special highlights include winning the drivers’ title in 2017 and the teams’ title in the first season on a factory level in 2018.

“Formula E has accompanied the transformation phase at Audi,” says Markus Duesmann. “Today, electromobility at the four rings is no longer a dream of the future, but the present.” The Audi e-tron is a bestseller in many markets. With the RS e-tron GT, Audi will soon bring its sporty spearhead onto the road. And as early as 2025, around 40 percent of sales are expected to be achieved with purely-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. “This is why we are taking the next step in electrified motorsport by facing the most extreme conditions. The many technical freedoms offered by the Dakar Rally provide a perfect test laboratory for us in this respect.”

The Dakar Rally will replace Audi’s factory involvement in Formula E, which will no longer be continued in the form of an Audi factory team after the 2021 season. The use of the newly developed Audi powertrain by customer teams will remain possible beyond next year. 

New line-up for Audi in motorsport

From December 1, 2020, Julius Seebach will assume responsibility for the company’s international motorsport activities in addition to his role as Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. Dieter Gass, who has held management positions at Audi Sport for almost ten years and was jointly responsible for the sporting success as Head of Audi Motorsport from 2017 to 2020, will devote himself to new tasks in the future following the successful conclusion of the factory program in the DTM.

“I am convinced that Julius Seebach is the right person for the repositioning of the motorsport activities,” says Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management and Board Member for Technical Development of AUDI AG. “On behalf of the entire Board of Management, I would like to thank Dieter Gass for his tireless efforts. Above all, he stands for the almost unbelievable success we have had in the DTM, especially in the last two years. But, Dieter Gass is also responsible for the successful entry into Formula E. I myself have been in motorsport for almost my whole life and I know how much passion and personal commitment is necessary to be successful in motorsport.”

After earning a master’s (German diploma) degree in Electromechanical Engineering Design (EMK) at the Technical University Darmstadt, Gass gathered initial professional experience with AUDI AG in Ingolstadt in development and testing of anti-lock braking systems. From November 1994 to March 2001, he worked for Audi Sport as an engineer and race engineer. From 2001 to 2011, Dieter Gass was involved in the Toyota and Lotus Formula 1 projects in leading roles, before returning to AUDI AG at the beginning of 2012. In the newly created position as Head of Racing Commitments, Gass played an instrumental part in achieving Audi’s title wins in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). In 2013, as Head of DTM, Gass took over the popular international touring car series at Audi. In 2017, Gass succeeded Wolfgang Ullrich in the role of Head of Audi Motorsport. Since then, Gass has been responsible for all of Audi’s international factory commitments in motorsport.