LAS VEGAS -- Audi AG is still studying the business case for building a vehicle assembly plant in the United States and will make a final call within the next four years, CEO Rupert Stadler said.
"We still see a lot of sales growth potential here. And wherever we sell a lot of cars, we have to produce locally in the long term," Stadler told Automotive News Europe on the sidelines of the International Consumer Electronics Show last week.
In June, Audi officials said the euro's recent slide against the dollar put any plans for a U.S. plant on hold. "U.S. production doesn't pay off at the current dollar exchange rate," said Michael Dick, Audi's brand's product development chief, at the time.
But beyond 2015, Stadler said the option still exists.
"Today this decision is not necessary," he said, "but we will make the decision before 2015."
Stadler said Audi's plan to double sales by 2018 remains unchanged. Audi sold a record 101,629 units in the United States last year. Stadler said Audi wants U.S. sales of up to 160,000 by 2015, adding that "in the long term, we still see 200,000 units per year."
But those gains will have to come without some vehicles that will soon launch in Europe. Stadler said Audi will not bring the forthcoming Q3 small crossover, entry-level A1, A5 sportback or a sedan version of the A3 to the U.S. market. Every additional model increases the complexity for dealers and requires training and showroom space.
Said Stadler: "We want to keep it simple."