German automaker Audi is reportedly considering relocating production of its Q8 e-tron electric SUV from the Foret plant near Brussels, Belgium, as part of the company's restructuring efforts. The new Audi CEO, Gernot Döllner, aims to streamline the organization and improve efficiency, with a focus on a more process- and software-oriented approach.
The Q8 e-tron, which marked Audi's significant entry into electric mobility, has faced challenges in utilization at the Brussels plant due to its outdated technology. Former CEO Markus Duesmann had initially planned to produce the second generation of the Q8 e-tron at the Belgian facility from 2026. However, Döllner's strategy may lead to a change in this plan.
Reports from German magazine Automobilwoche suggest that internal discussions are underway to potentially shift Q8 e-tron production to Mexico. Audi already operates a plant in San José Chiapa, Mexico, where the Q5, including the plug-in hybrid version, is currently manufactured.
The proximity of the Q5 production to the VW plant in Puebla, approximately 60 kilometers away, has sparked considerations for Q8 e-tron production in Puebla for both North America and Europe. Additionally, plans include building the Q8 e-tron in Changchun, China, to cater to the Chinese market.
Audi's spokesperson stated, “We are working closely with the Volkswagen Group to optimize plant allocation for our global production network. A follow-up allocation for Brussels is currently being discussed.” While the future of Q8 e-tron production in Brussels remains uncertain, no final decision has been made, considering the potential impact on the plant's future without a replacement model. The company is navigating these decisions as part of its broader strategy to enhance operational efficiency and adapt to changing market dynamics.