My Adventures in Germany
Audi Factory Tour in Neckarsulm
Germany Trip-1, November 1994,
Audi Factory Tour, Neckarsulm, Germany
I left the Porsche factory near Stuttgart at noon and drove north/west to Neckarsulm for the Audi A6 tour. Here is a photo of the two lane Autobahn I drove on to get there. A rare BMW Z1 drove past as I took this shot. It is not easy to take photos while you are driving over 100MPH!...
I found the location of the Audi factory with the help of the Seifert VW/AUDI dealer in Neckarsulm.They had a 1986 ur-Quattro in the used car lot with the 200 HP engine, it was selling for $13,900 DM.
The A8 and the A6 are built here.
The Neckarsulm plant has a visitors center (looks like a small car dealership) where customers can pick up their new car. Here is one of the nearby lots where new audis are parked.
Audi provides a free lunch and tour to their customers. There was a Quattro Boutique gift shop which had various Audi souveniers, t-shirts, jackets, hats, model cars etc. The showroom had one of the A8 aluminum frames displayed with some technical details.
The factory tour was unfortunately given in German so I can only provide limited details. The tour group was very large with 25-30 people in attendance, many were picking up new cars that day. The guide passed out wireless headsets for everyone. The tour started in the body part pressing and sheet metal fabrication area.The building was HUGE and the noise was deafening! We walked in between the large two story hydraulic presses as various body parts were being shuffled automatically from one press operation to the next to complete each part.
The floor was covered with this oily slime that was on all the sheet metal parts.
We then went into the automated welding area which was very fascinating. It looked like something out of Star Wars as each body section would appear at a station, several robots would swing around and attack with their spot welding tongs. We were standing pretty close and several times huge sparks came flying by in our direction. It was amazing how fast the robots could perform the detailed welding process.
The welded sections were quickly shuffled to the next station for more parts and welding. Behind us were some workers with wire-feed welders tacking certain areas of the body as they moved by. I never realized how automated the assembly of the body could be. As in all the tours we were not taken into the paint area but the photo below shows part of this process.
We then headed over to the final assembly area.
The bodies were moving in one direction on a conveyor and next to the body the engine/trans with front axles and suspension would head in the opposite direction towards the body and at the last minute would make a U-turn and come underneath the body. It was stuffed in place in a few minutes by several workers. I saw a 4 cylinder, then a V6 and finally a turbo engine package installed while we were standing there.
The head liner installation is done automatically in one step. This giant clam shell shaped arm would come in through the front windshield area holding the head liner with adhesive which it would then press into the roof in less than a minute!
The body of the car is tipped on its side to allow the fuel lines and other chassis clips to be installed.
We saw some of the windows and interior parts being installed after that.The final testing of the finished product is done on a dyno after assembly is completed. Seeing the whole process gives you a renewed appreciation for what it takes to build a car!
We did not see the engine assembly but the photo below shows part of this process. Factory photos courtesy of Audi AG
The other end of the factory has another small showroom which has some historic NSU vehicles on display along with an A8 sedan.
Outside in front there is a galvanized V8 body on display demonstrating the anti-corrosion properties.
Outdated Info for reference only: Here
was the information from 1990's on making reservations to visit the Audi
Audi of America recommended that I call the Audi factory in Germany directly when I traveled there in 1996 but this may have changed.
If you call the Audi Factory in Germany, you can start the conversion with "Sprechen Sie Englisch? to try and speak to someone at Audi who speaks English.