Just as the world begins to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, a new crisis has emerged. Exactly one month ago, Russia began its invasion of Ukraine that's turned into an outright war. Neither side is willing to give up. Politics aside, this stalemate is causing more production interruptions for European-based automakers, and Audi is being hit especially hard.
Automotive News Europe has confirmed with the German luxury carmaker that it "will stop production at some locations for days or weeks" due to supply issues originating from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The Q4 e-tron, A4/A5, A6/A7, TT, and Q7/Q8 are all affected. Audi has already informed its dealerships to be ready for "significantly longer delivery times" for these specific models.
The TT, Q8 and Q4 e-tron, however, are currently planned to begin limited production in the middle of next month. That's the good news. The not-so-good news is that not all engine variants will be possible. Audi did not specific which versions will be built. Meanwhile, the A4/A5 is set to continue production on March 30 and the A6/A7 on April 4. Again, these dates are subject to change because no one knows what's going to happen during the fighting.
Previously, the e-tron GT and R8, experienced temporary production shutdowns and Audi says both will come back online in two shifts starting on March 28. The A4/A5, however, will initially begin production on a single shift. If all goes well, a double shift will commence one week later.
Audi has to take a very conservative approach to the conflict not out of fear of angering Russia, but rather because it has core suppliers based in Ukraine. Sadly, many of those suppliers have been forced to completely suspend operations. Previous reports suggest Audi, and its Volkswagen Group parent company, are exploring alternative suppliers outside of Ukraine but not too far from Germany.
Like any OEM, Audi cannot afford to take a production hit for too long. Niche models like the TT and R8 are not so much a problem, but mainstream offerings like A4/A5 and the highly profitable Q7/Q8 are a different matter entirely.