From aluminium pioneer to volume production: Audi has now built
more than 150,000 vehicles with aluminium body - including over
93,000 Audi A8 and just under 57,000 A2 models. This represents a
further milestone in the success story of lightweight construction at
Audi has been conducting intensive research and development work
connected to the material aluminium for more than 16 years and has
consequently built up exceptional know-how in this field. This work
has produced a significant reduction in weight and a revolutionary
new approach for vehicle design and production: Audi Space Frame
(ASF). This is a high-strength aluminium frame structure into which
the large aluminium panels are integrated where they have a
In 1994 this knowledge was applied to volume production: the Audi
A8 was the first production saloon with an aluminium body. At the end
of 1994 Audi concentrated its expertise in the field of lightweight
construction at its Neckarsulm site and erected an aluminium centre
there at a cost of around DM 15 million. 100 or so members of staff
now employed there work especially on the development of aluminium
production vehicles. They are concerned in particular with optimising
components and processes for volume application in ASF technology.
This development work has produced visible results: The Audi A2
with the second-generation ASF was launched in mid-2000. This, the
first volume-built aluminium car, required techniques, processes,
tools and production methods to be developed from scratch or
modified. The Audi A2 1.2 TDI followed in June this year, the first
five-door "three-litre" car (meaning one that consumes just three
litres of fuel per 100 km) that makes no compromises in terms of
space, comfort and driveability.
Audi is an international developer and manufacturer of
high-quality cars. In 2000 the company sold more than 650,000 Audi
models. The sales revenues of the Audi Group totalled DM 39 billion.
The Audi Group currently has more than 50,000 employees.