Audi partners with digital health incubator to tone up startups and drivers

“More than ever, health and fitness are becoming top priorities in our daily life. With the fully connected car, we are creating the time and space to respond to this need also while driving,” says Dietmar Voggenreiter, Board Member for Sales and Marketing at AUDI AG. “Automotive health is an outstanding example of the many opportunities that digitalization opens up for us.”

In the Flying Health Incubator, AUDI AG is entering into dialog with decision-makers from the startup scene and from the healthcare industry. Together, the partners will strive to identify trends, technical solutions and business models in the digital health market at an early stage. The incubator scouts startups with innovative concepts in this sector and assists them over multiple years. The focus of the cooperation for Audi is on new approaches to monitoring fitness and health and their integration into the brand’s ongoing development projects.

Audi Fit Driver is intended to allow drivers to arrive at their destinations in a more relaxed and healthy state than when they get into the car. With this, the system is also contributing to road safety. It is currently being used in first concept cars. The car’s sensors work together with a wearable – such as a smartwatch – to monitor the driver’s vital signs. The car’s systems respond accordingly to invigorate, relax or protect the driver: for example, with a seat massage, appropriate air conditioning and interior lighting, adaptive infotainment, or in a later development phase, with a piloted emergency stop.

The Flying Health Incubator helps startups develop their digital business strategies, from research to quality management and to project controlling. Within this framework, Audi employees will also be working alongside entrepreneurs from the digital health market. Along with a network of scientists, IT experts, investors and mentors, the incubator offers participants a research site at Berlin’s Trauma Hospital (Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin).

Audi Group in first half of year: ongoing robust performance in a challenging environment

“Despite challenging conditions, we demonstrated the strength of our business operations in the first half of the year,” stated Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “We are building on our strong core business and develop new business areas that megatrends such as digitization open to us. We are investing in sustainable products and developing answers for the questions of urban mobility.”

Renewed growth in deliveries underscores the attractiveness of the Audi brand. From January through June, Audi handed over 953,218 automobiles to their new owners (2015: 902,272), 5.6 percent more than in the first half of last year. The brand achieved growth in Europe, China and the United States, and thus in all core regions. Demand was stimulated in particular by the new generations of the Audi A4 and the top-end SUV, the Q7.

The Audi Group’s revenue for the first six months increased to €30,134 million (2015: €29,784 million). Operating profit excluding special items amounted to €2,666 million (2015: €2,914 million), representing an operating return on sales of 8.8 percent (2015: 9.8 percent). The decrease compared with the prior-year period is partially due to high levels of advance expenditure, as well as currency effects. The company is putting its new plant in Mexico into operation in the second half of the year.

Including special items of €265 million, the Audi Group’s operating profit for the first half of the year amounts to €2,401 million (2015: €2,914 million) and its operating return on sales is 8.0 percent (2015: 9.8 percent). The special items include provisions of €133 million in connection with Takata airbags possibly susceptible to faults. In addition, Audi has increased its provisions for technical actions, legal risks and sales actions by €132 million in connection with the V6 3.0 TDI issue.

The Audi Group’s financial result reflects the volatile development of global interest markets in the form of negative one-time effects. Influenced by this impact, the company achieved profit before taxes of €2,190 million in the first half of the year (2015: €3,150 million); profit after taxes amounts to €1,682 million (2015: €2,429 million).

The net cash inflow for the first half of the year increased to €2,085 million (2015: €1,747 million). Net liquidity rose to €17,150 million (2015: €16,420 million).

Axel Strotbek, Member of the Board of Management for Finance and IT, said: “We are making use of the financial strength of the Audi Group and shape our future with our own earnings. We will further increase our advance expenditure in the second half of the year.” An amount of €1,238 million was invested in property, plant and equipment in the months of January through June. The company plans investment in property, plant and equipment of more than €3 billion in full-year 2016. “We will increase efficiency in all areas of the Group in order to safeguard our course of innovation and investment,” said Strotbek.

For the key strategic areas of the future, Audi recruited approximately 600 new employees between January and June. That will increase to the number of about 1,200 new experts by the end of this year. Furthermore, Audi is increasing the number of apprenticeships by ten percent. This means that for the first time, approximately 800 young people will start their job training in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm this September.

In the full year, the Audi Group once again plans to deliver more automobiles with the Four Rings than in the previous year. Depending on economic conditions and the development of currency exchange rates, the company also anticipates moderate revenue growth. For its operating return on sales before special items, which reflects the ongoing business, the premium manufacturer expects a figure within its strategic target corridor of eight to ten percent. Including special items, the Audi Group currently anticipates a percentage slightly below this corridor.   

Download Interim Financial Report 2016:

Audi racing legends Stuck, Röhrl and Biela at Classic Days Schloss Dyck

Hans-Joachim Stuck, known colloquially as “Strietzel”, will be behind the wheel of the Auto Union Type C from 1936. What makes it even more special is that his father, Hans Stuck, drove the Auto Union Silver Arrows to a number of successes between 1934 and 1939. He was crowned the German Hillclimb Champion three times and from then on was known as the “King of the Hills”. Stuck won 16 of the 23 international hillclimb races held.

Visitors to Classic Days will experience in person the 16-cylinder-strong Auto Union Silver Arrow specially equipped with twin tires. Particularly on loose ground, these helped increase the vehicle’s traction during various hillclimb races. The vehicle was used for the first time in 1934 at the Feldberg race in the Taunus mountain range. “Strietzel” Stuck is looking forward to Schloss Dyck: “In view of the family history, it’s a very special honor for me whenever I get the chance to drive one of the Silver Arrows along the route. The car is truly sensational.”

Classic vehicle aficionados will easily recognize the Audi Sport quattro S1. The snowplow-like front apron and the sizable rear spoiler afford it its unmistakable appearance. The S1 was the last development of the Rally quattro. Serving up 476 hp at 7500 rpm, the “winged monster” had phenomenal traction. Despite this, the vehicle only ever won a single race: the 1985 San Remo rally where it was entered in the legendary Group B. The driver at the time was the same person who will drive the route today: at Classic Days, Walter Röhrl will be at the wheel of a Sport quattro S1 built in 1985.

Frank Biela sees the festival very much as a home game for two reasons: firstly, the Classic Days event is held around 20 kilometers (12.4 mi) away from Biela’s native town of Neuss. And secondly because the driver from the Rhineland region will be driving “his” winning vehicle: in the year 2000, together with his team colleagues Tom Kristensen and Emanuele Pirro, he drove the Audi R8 Le Mans to the first ever Le Mans 24-hour race victory of the brand with the four rings. At the renowned long-distance race, Biela won a further four times. Audi Tradition will be bringing the winning Le Mans vehicle with starting number 8 to the festival. Its 8-cylinder turbocharged engine with FSI direct petrol injection delivers an impressive 610 hp.

Furthermore, two rare racing motorcycles will also be on the road at Schloss Dyck. The DKW UL 500 with its pump-charged two-cylinder engine won three German Championship races in 1937. Ralf Waldmann, two-time vice World Champion of the motorcycle discipline, will be riding a completely rebuilt example of this racing bike. At the same time, Audi will also be lining up the 1931 NSU SSR 500, better known as the Bullus NSU.

The Concours d’Elegance on the Orangerie peninsula of Schloss Dyck bears the name “Jewels in the Park” and is all about elegance and uniqueness. There, Audi Tradition will be presenting a Wanderer 10/50 PS, Type W 11 in the rare Pullman-Landaulet version from 1929, as well as a DKW Schnelllaster F 800/3 equipped as a luxury bus from 1956.

Audi Motorsport Newsletter 26/2016

Audi welcomes sport stars at the Nürburgring

Two successful stars in German sport followed the home round of Audi at the Nürburgring. The former ski star Maria Höfl-Riesch and the erstwhile swimmer Michael Groß both attended the FIA WEC event as guests of Audi. During the VIP hot laps, the three-time Olympic gold medalist Höfl-Riesch experienced corner speeds at the limit in an Audi RS 7 of which she was behind the wheel. She also had a look behind the scenes of the Audi WEC team with Allan McNish. The winner of 21 titles, Michael Groß, also supported Audi and visited the team in the pit garage at the Nürburgring.

Best wishes to Benoît Tréluyer

On the grid of the 6 Hours of Nürburgring, Audi displayed a sign: The Audi WEC drivers and team members held a sign in front of the cameras, which said “Get well soon Ben,” in order to send their best wishes to Benoît Tréluyer. The Frenchman had to miss the fourth round of the FIA WEC after he injured himself in a mountain bike accident.

Joest mechanics ahead in Lego Challenge

Audi drivers Lucas di Grassi, Loïc Duval and Oliver Jarvis tested their skills at the Nürburgring. Their challenge was to build a Lego Audi R18 model as fast as possible, while they were pitted against their mechanics. Chief mechanic Bastian Leiter, Heiko Rennert and Jan-Philipp Pförsich from Audi Sport Team Joest tackled the project as fast and systematically as going about their daily work. In the end, the mechanics were clearly faster than the race drivers in assembling the 166-part Lego model.

André Lotterer impressed by the Eifel Rallye Festival

Audi driver André Lotterer is an enthusiastic rally fan. At the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at the Nürburgring, he took the opportunity to attend the Eifel Rallye Festival in Daun. With his private Audi Sport quattro the 2012 endurance world champion visited Audi Tradition which showcased three rare vehicles at the festival. Along with an Audi Sport quattro and a Sport quattro S1, Audi presented the spectacular Audi Group S mid-engine rally prototype. “It is an absolutely fascinating car,” said an enthusiastic Lotterer, who also met one of his childhood heroes: The two-time world rally champion Walter Röhrl drove the Group S car on the rally stages around Daun.

Edoardo Mortara is happy about the birth of a baby

From the podium to the delivery room: On the weekend at Zandvoort, Edoardo Mortara celebrated a third place but the Italian’s week was defined by another personal experience. On Tuesday, his wife, Montserrat Retamal, gave birth to a healthy daughter. The child has been named Sofia. Audi Sport extends cordial congratulations to the couple and sends best wishes to Geneva.

Mike Rockenfeller at “Technikmeile”

Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller attended the “VDI-Technikmeile 2016” technology exhibition in Nuremberg. As a Schaeffler Brand Ambassador the DTM Champion and Le Mans winner visited the Schaeffler booth near the St. Lorenz (St. Lawrence) church which, in additional to numerous technology exhibits, featured an Audi RS 5 DTM and a Carrera slot car race track. In brilliant summer weather, Rockenfeller posed for pictures, gave interviews and signed autographs.

A word from … Stefan Dreyer

Following his first race as Head of LMP, Stefan Dreyer analyzes round four of the FIA WEC at the Nürburgring.

After the race at Le Mans, Audi Sport did a lot of work. How satisfied are you with the first weekend in your new role?

After Le Mans, we didn’t leave a single stone unturned, worked diligently and improved. That was clearly evident in the way the race at the Nürburgring went. We were strong in qualifying, led the race with both cars and set the fastest race lap, but nevertheless, we suffered a setback halfway through the race. Otherwise we would have been in contention for victory. Today, for the first time this year, both driver squads finished on podium.

Audi used the third aerodynamics package for the first time this season. How satisfied are you?

We expected this bodywork to fit the remaining race tracks. Now we have to achieve the optimum with this package. This will be important because the first half of the championship points for this year have been awarded – now the crucial second half is coming up.

The deficit resulted from a caution period. What exactly happened?

With both Audi R18 cars we had made the third refueling stop when a caution period occurred. Porsche, due to their fuel tank capacity, are able to run a longer distance on one filling – this is a result of the regulations. Consequently, Porsche’s stop fell exactly into this period when the rest of the field had to drive around the track only at a slow pace. This made it possible for Porsche to gain an advantage of over 30 seconds. Due to the subsequent caution periods, we didn’t have to make another refueling stop. Otherwise we’d have lost even more ground due to this splash-and-dash stop.

What are your next goals?

I’m growing into my new role now and am in a personal learning process. I was already pretty happy with the performance of the whole squad in the Eifel. Everyone knows what’s still at stake this year. Five of nine races are coming up. We’re going to do everything within our means to battle for the world championship this year. My job is to motivate all the people and to align the processes of the LMP program to this mission. The overseas races have always been very demanding and won’t be any easier this year. But we do have a good chance to be in contention.

Coming up next week

29–30/07 Mid-Ohio (USA), races 14 and 15, Pirelli World Challenge

29–30/07 Spa (B), round 4, Blancpain GT Sports Club

29–31/07 Queensland (AUS), round 4, Australian GT Trophy Series

30–31/07 Spa (B), round 2, Intercontinental GT Challenge, 24-hour race

30–31/07 Spa (B), round 4, Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, 24-hour race

Audi top in qualifying for home round

Stefan Dreyer was very pleased on making his debut as Project Leader LMP as well. “This performance is impressive. After a lot of hard work, the entire team deserves this success. We got everything right today. Obviously, that’s our goal for Sunday as well. However, a 6-hour race is an altogether different challenge. Still, I’m optimistic.”

The race starts on Sunday, July 24, at 13:00. Eurosport will be airing full-length coverage of the 6 Hours of Nürburgring live and free of charge on its website:

Qualifying results

1 Fässler/Lotterer (Audi R18) 1m 39.444s

2 Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (Audi R18) 1m 39.710s

3 Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (Porsche) 1m 39.861s

4 Dumas/Jani/Lieb (Porsche) 1m 39.893s

5 Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin (Toyota) 1m 40.639s

6 Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima (Toyota) 1m 40.748s

7 Imperatori/Kraihamer/Tuscher (Rebellion) 1m 46.081s

8 Kaffer/Trummer/Webb (CLM-AER) 1m 46.907s

9 Beche/Heidfeld/Prost (Rebellion) 1m 47.026s

10 Brundle/Rast/Rusinov (Oreca-Nissan) 1m 48.984s