With the A1, Audi intends to challenge BMW's Mini brand, which has been able to charge a premium for its lineup of small cars because of their high quality and performance. Audi consequently placed demands on suppliers to produce premium-quality parts with close attention to detail. For example, Preh GmbH, supplier of the A1's climate control system, was required to make control buttons that produce the typical Audi metallic "click" sound. The German supplier achieved that by using a plastic stop spring. Similarly, Preh used ball bearings to give the rotary knobs a precise and distinctive feel.
Suppliers from Germany, Sweden and the United States play a key role in keeping the new Audi A1 safe. Autoliv Inc. of Sweden supplies the A1's standard-fit driver airbag as well as the passenger airbag. U.S.-based supplier TRW Automotive Inc. contributes the standard fit curtain airbag module and side airbag module. Robert Bosch GmbH of Germany regulates airbag deployment by providing control units. Bosch, which is Europe's largest auto parts supplier, also makes the A1's electronic stability control system.
Other important suppliers include: Delphi Corp., supplier of the entertainment/navigation system; Webasto AG, which supplies the panorama roof; and ZF Friedrichshafen AG, which contributes chassis and clutch components.
The A1 is built on the PQ25 (A05) platform, which also is used to make the Polo from sister brand Volkswagen. The A1 is made at a former VW plant in Brussels, Belgium. The carmaker invested approximately 300 million euros to renovate the factory. The A1 went on sale in Europe in August 2010.