The Audi Group with its brands Audi, Lamborghini and Ducati is one of the most successful makers of automobiles and motorcycles in the premium segment.
In 2020, the Audi Group shipped 1,692,773 (2019: 1,845,573) Audi automobiles, 7,430 (2019: 8,205) Lamborghini sports cars, and 48,042 (2019: 53,183) Ducati motorcycles to customers.
The premium manufacturer generated an operating profit of €2.6 billion in fiscal 2020 (2019: €4.5 billion) on the back of revenue of €50.0 billion (2019: €55.6 billion). Around 88,000 people worldwide work for the company, some 58,000 of them in Germany. Upon entry of the transfer resolution in the commercial register on November 16, 2020, all shares held minority shareholders of AUDI AG were transferred by operation of law to Volkswagen AG. The shares of AUDI AG were delisted. The Audi Group, which is headquartered in Ingolstadt, has a footprint in more than 100 markets throughout the world and 18 production sites in 12 countries.
“Vorsprung durch Technik” – also to enable sustainable business
Audi’s mission is to systematically drive sustainability in its vehicles and services throughout the value chain. To achieve that, the brand with the four rings is committed to developing new drive technologies and, as part of its holistic approach to e-mobility, is also stepping up the further development of charging technologies and infrastructure.
The brand with the four rings launched its electrification offensive with the world premiere of the Audi e-tron. It was followed in 2021 by the Audi e-tron GT, a four-door coupé with a strong, persuasive design. This year, Audi will present the Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron, its first electric cars in the compact class. By 2025, Audi hopes that electric models will account for more than one-third of its unit sales. Apart from the product itself, the ecosystem around the car plays a crucial role in e-mobility. The company offers customers the Audi e-tron Charging Service to enable easy e-mobility suitable for everyday use. It permits access to most of the charging stations in Europe – more than 185,000 public charging points in 26 EU countries.
AUDI AG will also keep on reducing the ecological footprint of its production operations and work on material loops that leave no space for waste. Under its environmental program Mission:Zero, Audi aims to make all production sites carbon-neutral by 2025. Audi Brussels has been carbon-neutral since 2018, while Audi Hungaria achieved that goal in 2020. Production of the Audi e-tron GT will also be carbon-neutral – the first electric model from the Audi brand will be made at a German site, Böllinger Höfe in Neckarsulm. Audi’s mission to drive sustainability also applies to the supply chain. The company stages CO2 workshops together with suppliers in order to identify the potential for cutting emissions. The method involves an approach based on hot spots, with the focus on materials and parts that are required in large quantities or are particularly energy-intensive to manufacture. Maximum efficiency in the use of raw materials, closed material loops, and compliance with sustainability standards are essential goals of Audi.
The brand specifies its strategic objectives and key performance indicators relating to sustainability in its “Sustainability Roadmap.” The roadmap’s focus is on climate protection, health and the circular economy/resource conservation, objectives that are also reflected in the company’s further development of e-mobility.
The three project highlights in 2020
Mission:Zero – Audi Hungaria is Audi’s second carbon-neutral location
Following Audi Brussels, which became carbon-neutral in 2018, the second of five Audi locations has now achieved that goal.
All measures to reduce Audi’s ecological footprint at its locations, in production and in logistics are pooled under Mission:Zero. The focus is on Audi’s key challenges in the action areas of decarbonization, water usage, resource efficiency and biodiversity.
Audi has already achieved a major milestone as regards decarbonization: All Audi plants have exclusively procured green electricity since the beginning of the year.
In 2019 alone, Audi Hungaria’s numerous efficiency measures allowed it to save more than 18,000 megawatt hours of energy and avoid almost 5,750 tonnes in CO2 emissions. The location in Győr, Hungary, also applies three levers to enable decarbonization. The first is to switch to green electricity, which has been achieved with commissioning of Europe’s largest rooftop photovoltaic system and purchase of electricity generated from renewable sources. The second is procurement of geothermal heat. Audi Hungaria has used geothermal energy for most of its heating needs at the site since 2012. Audi Hungaria compensates for CO2 emissions that are unavoidable at present, such as from the engine test stands, by means of international recognized, certified carbon credits – the third lever, which accounts for some 5 percent of CO2 emissions.
Audi e-tron GT: Launch of carbon-neutral series production at Böllinger Höfe
Series production of the Audi e-tron GT, the brand’s most powerful electric vehicle, is commencing at the Neckarsulm site. Production at Audi’s Böllinger Höfe is as unique as the car itself: The brand with the four rings has never before been able to make any vehicle ready for series production so quickly.
It is not by chance that the Audi e-tron GT is being produced at Neckarsulm: It was already a focal site for plug-in hybrids and has the highest density of electric models at Audi in the shape of the A6, A7 and A8 plug-in and mild hybrids.
The location also boasts a further notable feature: The whole production process at Böllinger Höfe is CO2-neutral. On its path toward carbon-neutral production, Audi rigorously looks at the entire value chain, and also manages to conserve important resources and reuse raw materials at the site. The e-tron GT is the first Audi to be planned and produced completely without physical prototypes, for example. All assembly processes were tested in purely virtual form with the aid of software and virtual reality applications developed in-house – and are now being applied successfully in practice as part of series production.
Audi is the first automobile manufacturer to be awarded the Chain of Custody certificate from the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative
The certificate confirms that Audi can comply with the materials flow chain for sustainably produced aluminum in accordance with the ASI standard and can also input correspondingly certified material to the Aluminum Closed Loop with its suppliers. The level of sustainability attested by the ASI is thus completely maintained, not only for vehicle components, but also for the process scrap from Audi press shops that is retained in the loop.
The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative takes account of business ethics, ecology and social criteria across the entire aluminum value chain in order to achieve constant improvements. The focus is on the efficient and economical use of the material, in order to save valuable resources and limit the demand for primary aluminum.
Furthermore, the environmental impact of the extraction of bauxite and processing of the material is to be reduced. The ASI also puts the spotlight on the people who are part of the aluminum supply chain. Its members are responsible for, among other things, respecting human rights across the value chain, and they work to produce joint solutions and measures for complying with these rights. For example, representatives of indigenous peoples who live close to the bauxite mines are an established part of the organizational structure of the ASI. Dialog with labor union representatives also plays an important part.
The opinions and suggestions of relevant stakeholders help guide Audi in developing its sustainability
Audi is also active in various initiatives, associations and working groups, with the goal of driving ecological, economic and social issues in collaboration with stakeholders.
Audi in dialog in 2020
With the workshop series “Audi Dialog 2020” at the Audi Conference Center at Munich Airport on January 28 and 29, 2020, the company continued the tradition of trusted, constructive exchange with its stakeholders. Audi experts took the opportunity to share views and experience with more than 50 representatives from business, science, politics and civil society, as well as to discuss controversial aspects constructively. At four roundtables with a specific thematic focus, the company was able to gain valuable and honest impulses in the fields of action: charging infrastructure, digital responsibility, human rights – grievance mechanisms, and the circular economy.
Next Generation: Driving Positive Impact
Audi staged two virtual workshops with around 30 participants from the company’s network of interns in November 2020 to kick off a dialog series with young people. The discussions focused on participants’ opinions on corporate social responsibility and their personal motivational drivers (purpose) in their occupation. Project ideas were also formulated to enable Audi to make a contribution to five of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and so make a significant positive impact in society. The five focal SDGs comprise: SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG 8: Decent Work, SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, and SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production.
Audi regularly stages a Neighborhood Talk in Ingolstadt, where representatives from the company inform residents about the location’s development and its regional engagement. Current projects in Audi’s Mission:Zero environmental program, such as remediation of a former refinery site in the east of Ingolstadt in order to establish a new technology park, water recycling with the aid of a new service-water supply center, and measures to enhance biodiversity at the plant, as well as an improved traffic situation thanks to the new train stop Ingolstadt Audi, were some of the topics discussed at the last Neighborhood Talk in 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Plant Manager Achim Heinfling and Rüdiger Recknagel, Audi’s Head of Environmental Protection, invited participants to a videoconference and discussed how the Ingolstadt plant and its facilities could be made even more sustainable together with neighbors from the surrounding residential areas, representatives from Ingolstadt Council, local enterprises and scientific and academic institutions that cooperate closely with Audi.
The Neighborhood Talks are part of the corporate environmental management program Audi has been rigorously committed to for many years. The next Neighborhood Talk is scheduled to take place in 2021.
Global Battery Alliance
Audi is committed to the values of the Global Battery Alliance of the World Economic Forum. The alliance is made up of public- and private-sector partners from the entire battery value chain and aims to ensure social and ecological sustainability aspects in the battery materials value chain. As part of that, the Global Battery Alliance addresses, among other things, conditions in mining of raw materials, sustainable recycling concepts to enable a circular economy, and innovations that promote the sustainability of batteries. Audi has been a member of this cooperative platform since 2017.
Aluminium Stewardship Initiative
Audi has been a member of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) since 2013. The ASI was established by a group of various stakeholders from the aluminum industry. The initiative’s objective is to create more sustainability and transparency in the aluminum sector and promote responsible aluminum production, processing and use. Audi is the world’s first OEM in the automotive sector to obtain certification in accordance with the ASI Performance and ASI Chain of Custody standards.
Awards in 2020
Five victories in its class: Huge success for Audi in Auto Zeitung’s Auto Trophy
Audi notched up a big success in the Auto Trophy 2020, which is staged by the trade journal Auto Zeitung and whose winners are chosen by readers. The A1 Sportback, A3 Sportback, Q2, Q8 and e-tron Sportback models each won in their category. That was the third major award for the A3 in the space of a few weeks: It had previously topped its class in the design contest “autonis” run by “auto, motor und sport” and in the Golden Steering Wheel awards held by Auto Bild.
The Auto Trophy was staged for the 33rd time this year. 18,811 Auto Zeitung readers voted for the models they thought were the best. There was a total 21 categories, in which 442 models and brands could be picked. Participants could cast two votes – one for the overall winner in a class and one for the best imported model.