Nicholas Erni: May 9th
Germany Day 5:
Today was the earliest day of the trip. We started at a bright and early 7:15am. The wake up time was completely worth it though, was we were going to Audi. Audi was probably the company that stood out to me and most of the group the most when we found out the sites we would be visiting. Audi’s headquarters are located in Ingolstadt, luckily that is where we were heading. The ride was around an hour and 30 minutes. The fields we passed by the whole ride were all yellow, as I found out before the ride, these plants are key in making canola oil.
Once we arrived at the Audi headquarters we walked into a room with 4 new 2019 Audi car models. Everyone from the group was hoping in and out of the cars and taking pictures. We were then taken to a little room where one of the HR facilitators told us what we were to see at this plant. She mentioned the fact that Q2, A3, A4, and A5 were being developed and produced here at Audis main plant. After the brief presentation we were guided to a personal Audi bus which would take us around the plant.
We first stopped at the body shop. This part of our tour included an insane amount of machinery, and reminded me of continentals processes and robots from yesterday, just moving much larger parts. The tour guide said that in the body shop 90 percent of the car building process was automated by robots and computers. The other 10 percent was human and hands on activities. Before we even stepped foot into the plant, we had the ability to feel the difference in weight between an old steel hood of a car and then a newer engineering hood made out of aluminum. The difference was drastic and proved Audi is a key innovator in its field. In the body shop the cars were being welded together from the basic frame to the doors. This was only the beginning of the process of making an Audi.
After the body shop we were taken to the interior shop. I enjoyed this a little more than the body shop because I was able to comprehend what was going on. The sheer number of machines and parts moving around confused me and made me really thing about the sheer technology Audi and their competitors are using. In the interior shop the cars were all welded together and their bodies were in line and painted. In this part of the plant the dashboards all the way to the windshields were being put into the car. The part of this tour in general that really caught my eye was when the chassis was matched up and placed into the body. This was the part of the making of these driving machines that really transformed it into a car in my opinion. The data and precision needed in this process is unreal.
After the tour of the interior plant, we were done with tours for the day. We made our way to the cafeteria where I had my first German steak. It was very mediocre in my opinion, I would give it a 7/10.
After lunch we made our way to the Audi museum. This museum was organized from top to bottom in a time period orientation. The cars dated all the way back to around 1899. The cars from the earlier time periods were extremely intriguing and a true piece of eye candy. I had never seen the majority of these models which is why the museum was so interesting. As we moved through the floors the cars and models got more modern up until present day where they had a few concept cars on display.
From here we went to a presentation and q and a session with two Audi employees. These two gave a detailed description of Audi’s future, mainly pertaining to the investments in electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles. Being able to hear what went into their new Audi E-tron which is completely electric was quite exciting. Also getting some inside information surrounding the fact Audi is heavily focused on autonomous vehicles was intriguing as well. The description of the new Audi E-Tron GT, which is set to release sometime in 2021, was the highlight of the presentation to me. To be able to see such an advanced vehicle for its time, about to drop onto the market was truly electrifying.
After the tour of Audi, Frank, Brett and I made our way to a local Irish pub called Murdoch’s. There we ordered some great Irish beef burgers and soaked up the Irish culture. The inside of the pub was quite authentic and really made you feel like you were eating in Ireland.
After the adventure to the Irish pub we eventually made our way back to the hotel where we came down to the lobby and began to write our blogs!
I would most definitely say my car of the day belongs to an Audi R8. At Audi I saw probably 9, I was a fan of the green one, but I was unable to take a picture due to the fact we left our phones behind on the tour.