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The one-millionth Audi A3, an Akoya Silver A3 3.2-litre V6 model with an output of 184 kW (250 bhp) and Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), left the production lines in Ingolstadt today. “This day represents a further landmark in the production history of both Audi and the plant,” commented Dr. Jochem Heizmann, Member of the Board of Management for Production.
Audi first unveiled the A3 in September 1996, after a development period of just 24 months, as the new automotive trendsetter in the compact class. Even before its market launch, the Audi A3 was included in the prestigious “Statement of Design” collection of the famous London-based Design Museum. Over
20,000 customers had already placed advance orders for the new model by then. The five-door Audi A3 followed in 1999. In view of high overall demand, the company decided that the successful A3 was also to be built jointly by the Ingolstadt plant (body production, paint shop) and the Györ plant in Hungary (assembly). Between 2001 and the start of 2003, production of the Audi A3 in Hungary reached the 37,000 mark.
The new Audi A3 went into production in May 2003. With an ultramodern body shop, a new press shop and a new assembly area (total investment: EUR 500 million) the maximum production capacity of about 700 vehicles per day was reached after only four months. It was thus possible to pass the 100,000 mark with the new Audi A3 within the first six months of the production start.
With its three variants – the “charismatic” Audi A3 Attraction, the “sporty” Audi A3 Ambition and the “exclusive” Audi A3 Ambiente – the Audi A3 has rapidly established itself on the market and helped to give the brand a more youthful, dynamic image. The following engine versions are currently available:
– 3.2 V6 with 184 kW (250 bhp)
– 2.0 FSI with 110 kW (150 bhp)
– 1.6 FSI with 85 kW (115 bhp)
– 1.6 75 kW (102 bhp)
– 2.0 TDI with 103 kW (140 bhp)
– 1.9 TDI with 77 kW (105 bhp)
Over half of those buying an Audi A3 opt for the low-consumption TDI models. All engines comply with the stringent tax-advantageous EU-4 emission standard.
The Audi A3 remains the only model in the premium compact class to be available with quattro permanent four-wheel drive. The sporty Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) is available in conjunction with the 3.2 quattro version and the 2.0 TDI. One particular high-tech feature is the DVD-based “navigation system plus” with bird’s-eye views and controls that can be operated intuitively.
The most recent award for the Audi A3 came in mid-November in Japan. The Automotive Researchers’ and Journalists’ Conference of Japan voted the Audi A3 as “Import Car of the Year”. All in all, the Audi A3 has long since perfected its pedigree: since the market launch of the second generation, the successor model has gained in stature as a self-assured, overtly dynamic car. Member of the Board of Management for Production Dr. Heizmann highlighted its importance: “The A3 has become the springboard and quintessence of our success in the premium segment. It has enjoyed considerable customer appeal right from the outset. Its combination of dynamic design, consistent styling, powerful engines and a high-quality finish has helped it become an extremely popular car.”
Xaver Meier, Chairman of the General Works Council, remembers clearly the discussions about the production location of the Audi A3. “The employees in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm gave up social and additional pay benefits in order to bring the A3 to Ingolstadt. Looking back, it was the right decision as the A3 has contributed significantly by securing jobs and creating new jobs. In addition, it was also a positive statement about Germany as a production location. For me, the Audi A3 symbolises power, strength and cohesion,” said Xaver Meier. “I am convinced that the new model will build on the success of the original.”
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