Audi resumes car production in Brazil

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Audi resumes car production in Brazil

After remaining at a standstill throughout this year, Audi will restart vehicle production in São José dos Pinhais (PR). The resumption is scheduled for the beginning of the second half of 2022, with the assembly of the Q3 and Q3 Sportback models.

The announcement was made this Tuesday (14), at the Audi House of Progress, in São Paulo. The space was the first showroom for the German brand in Brazil, when Ayrton Senna became the company’s representative in the country, in 1994.

The factory is part of the Volkswagen industrial complex in Paraná. Audi’s initial capacity will be 4,000 units per year.

“We carried out many studies and found a way. As of mid-2022, we will produce two vehicles in unprecedented versions,” said Johannes Roscheck, president of Audi in Brazil.

Production had been interrupted in January 2021. The assembly line remained idle throughout the year, and the return was linked to the receipt of a debt generated during the Inovar-Auto program, which ran from 2012 to 2017.

The amount should be paid by the government as a reversal of taxes.

Created during the Dilma Rousseff (PT) government, Inovar-Auto had the objective of stimulating national production. One of the promises of the plan was to return to automakers that invested in manufacturing in Brazil the thirty percentage points paid on the IPI (Tax on Industrialized Products) on the sale of imported models.

Of the approximately R$ 300 million retained since the Dilma government, between 70% and 80% were owed to Audi.

Roscheck stated that it was not easy to convince the matrix, but it was possible to evolve in the negotiations for the reversal. Despite this, the amounts withheld have not yet started to be paid.

The automaker also confirmed the investment of R$ 20 million in the installation of quick recharge points at its dealerships. The company has been betting on the import of electric cars, such as the e-Tron model.

However, the national production will be focused on cars with 2.0 turbo combustion engines, powered by gasoline.

The arrival of hybrid versions that can run on ethanol combined with electricity is expected, which should take place in the second half of this decade. The Volkswagen group will be the global hub for the development of biofuel-based technologies, with an eye on the domestic market as well as countries like India.

There is, however, no forecast for the national assembly of 100% electric cars.

“Audi is going to become an electric brand anyway, but we have to think about the right time to do this in Brazil,” said the president of Audi in the country.

The German automaker already had its assembly line in the country, installed in the Volkswagen group’s complex in Paraná. From there hatch versions of the A3 model came out, produced between 1999 and 2006.

The announcement of the resumption was made in September 2013, with an investment of R$ 500 million. However, the market was in crisis when the first national A3 Sedan hit stores at the end of 2015.

Audi has not disclosed what will be the investment for the resumption or how many employees will be hired. The return takes place in a year of majority elections, which is good news for the governor of Paraná, Ratinho Júnior (PSD).

“If we don’t get in the way, it’s already a big deal,” said the governor, who was present at the announcement.

With the resumption of production, Audi and BMW continue as the two premium German brands that assemble passenger cars in Brazil.

Mercedes ended the manufacture of the Class C and GLA models in Iracemápolis (São Paulo countryside). The last units were completed in late 2020.

The assembly line had started operating in March 2016, after an investment of R$600 million. The plant was sold to China’s Great Wall, which will start manufacturing its cars in 2023.

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