May 9th: Audi Puts the Group in Awe

After waking up early and getting my daily dose of fried bacon from the hotel breakfast buffet, we headed to Ingolstadt to the Audi headquarters. I know we were all excited to tour the headquarters of a company known for making such visually appealing cars. Immediately as we arrive we are awestruck by the sheer size of the complex and the number of Audi cars. While we waited for our tour to begin we were put in a room with a few newer models and the group was going wild.

Everyone was taking pictures and drooling over the squeaky-clean display of such beautiful cars. Once the tour started our amazement only grew. First, we were taken to the body shop where the most noticeable characteristic is the lack of employees. The tour guide stated that 90% of their body shop is automated and run by robots. This made the robotic carts at Continental look like nothing. The robots Audi is using are huge and there are so many. They do such precise work placing pieces together and even welding them to form the frame of the car. Sadly, we were not able to see the paint shop due to it being a dust-free zone but, our next stop was also interesting and a complete change from the body shop. The first thing I noticed about the assembly line was the number of employees. Unlike the body shop, assembly is done mostly by workers. Their jobs include installing cable trees, dashboards, and the front and rear windshields on the car. After this we moved to final inspection. It was amazing to see so many cars, fresh off the assembly line, being checked for perfection. I was amazed by the optic technology used to scan the cars and detect imperfections down to millimeters. It was such a unique experience to see the assembly of a car from nearly start to finish.

Napkin Instructing User How to Slice a Tomato

Once we all took a deep breath, we were given time before the company presentation to eat lunch and walk around the Audi Museum. I decided lunch first was the better option and much to my pleasure, there was more schnitzel! My third schnitzel in three meals! I’m getting messages from my mom saying that I’ll have to make it for the family when I get home. My response is, “I have no idea how it’s made, I just love to eat it!” One German student, Mattias, said he enjoys cooking so maybe I will ask him if he has a good schnitzel recipe. One thing I found interesting were the napkins in the Audi dining facility. Not exactly sure why but there were instructions on how to slice a tomato written on them. They were in German of course so I asking Killian what it said.

After another belly full of schnitzel, I toured the Audi Museum. It was so fascinating to see car models that dated back to 1899 and how they changed as years went by. One thing I found interesting about the visit as a whole was the development of Audi as a brand. Audi didn’t transform itself into a high-performance, attractive brand until really the past two decades. Once it was time, we were given a great presentation by Patrick Will and Guido Bauer. This presentation had all the information my group could have asked for to give us content for our upcoming presentation. I’m confident that we’ll be able to put together a great company analysis.

Early Audi Model from 1899

Döner Sandwich

Now it was time for another dinner on our own. After a failed attempt at convincing the group to head to Vapiano again we settled on a Turkish place that sells the well-known Döner Sandwich.  The döner was a lot like the gyros that we have in America. It was pita with meat, lettuce, tomato, onion and it was very good. It was also relatively cheap which is always a plus. Along with the meal we were given complimentary Turkish black tea. The worker at the restaurant advised two spoons of sugar for ideal taste and I have to agree with him.

Today was a great day overall. I’m pretty sure everyone was impressed with Audi, the tour and presentation. I know I am looking forward towards putting together a great company analysis!

Highlight of the Day: Getting to sit in the new Audi E-tron.

Low of the Day: When it started hailing and we had to run across the street into the hotel from the bus.

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