Audi cancels plans to produce flagship model in Hanover

In addition to the relocation of production of the planned VW electric flagship Trinity from Wolfsburg to Zwickau, several other decisions have been made within the Volkswagen Group. Audi, for example, is pulling its planned top electric model from Hanover.

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Audi’s EV flagship was supposed to be manufactured at the VW Commercial Vehicles factory in Hanover from 2026. Instead, according to an Audi spokesperson, production of the vehicle will now start at the company’s own plant in Neckarsulm. However, Audi no longer provides an exact date for when production of the vehicle is to start.

The model was part of Audi’s earlier Artemis project, and in 2021 the order for production had gone to Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWN) in Hanover – specifically for three models, one each from Audi, Porsche and Bentley. The initially planned start of production was 2024, but it could not be kept and was postponed several times. Porsche had already withdrawn from the project at the end of 2021 and wants to build its electric flagship on its own in Leipzig. Bentley also opted to build only body in Hanover; final assembly was still to take place in Crewe, UK. There is currently no new information on the future of the Bentley model.

It has already been decided how the capacities in Hanover that were originally intended for the Artemis EV will be used. According to the works council, VWN is now to develop its own vehicle family called Space instead. VWN will receive its own electric platform from the group, based on the future group architecture SSP, which is to be developed by the end of the decade.

Nevertheless, the works council expressed “disappointment” at the withdrawal of the prestigious Audi project, but is also confident with the announced production of the ‘Space’ series. “This decision strengthens our independence within the group, secures the locations and gives us room for manoeuvre as a brand to develop our business into the future,” says VWN works council head Stavros Christidis in a report in the works council newspaper Mitbestimmen.

Changes are also in the pipeline at other VW plants in Lower Saxony: As things stand today, the Trinity vehicle project originally planned for Wolfsburg will go to the Zwickau plant. On the other hand, VW has confirmed that an electric version of the iconic Golf will be built at the Wolfsburg plant. The vehicle is to be based on the SSP – as already indicated by VW brand boss Thomas Schäfer. The new architecture should (unlike the MEB) allow for significantly flatter compact cars – a feature that Schäfer sees as essential for a Golf. Since the SSP is to be launched “at the end of the decade”, initially with the Trinity in Zwickau, it will probably be 2029 or 2030 before an electric Golf rolls off the production line in Wolfsburg – but this has not been confirmed, VW has not yet given a date.

One sticking point in the development of the upcoming electric models (not only for the SSP, but also for the PPE-based EV models coming in 2024) is the software. The Volkswagen Group has hired Sanjay Lal to develop a new software platform for the future electric models. The former Google, Tesla and Cisco manager most recently developed a new software platform for the US electric start-up Rivian and is to solve the problems at Volkswagen’s software division Cariad from November. (in German, Hanover), (Golf), (Sanjay Lal)


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