Audi will produce 240,000 transmissions annually at the new facility and will have a work force of over 1,000 at full capacity. And thanks to the modular production set-up, the company can double the plant’s capacity in a later phase. “With our first local transmission plant, we have brought another key Audi competence to China,” says Joachim Wedler, president of Audi China. “The transmission production in Tianjin marks a milestone in our localization strategy.”
The factory is also particularly sustainable: It has, among other things, a heat recovery system and a roof that is designed to save power through the intelligent use of daylight.
The new 7-speed S tronic transmission from Tianjin will be used in models of the second-generation modular longitudinal platform (MLB). It combines sporty and comfortable driving with low fuel consumption. In combination with the 2.0 TFSI engine, the gearbox contributes to the class-leading efficiency and performance of the powertrain of the new Audi A4 L. The new generation of the premium mid-size sedan will be launched in China in September and features the lowest CO2 emissions in its segment.
The Volkswagen Group has produced dual-clutch transmissions for models based on the modular transverse platform (MQB) since 2014. The start of production in Tianjin marks the completion of the second phase of Volkswagen ATJ. AUDI AG (49 percent) and Volkswagen Group China (51 percent) are both shareholders of the company. “Volkswagen Automatic Transmission Tianjin creates synergies between the Group brands, further strengthening them. With efficient use of resources we live up to our promise of sustainability at every step along the way,” says Dr. Jochem Heizmann, President of Volkswagen Group China.
Audi dual clutch transmissions
The move to open a new Chinese plant for the manufacture of Audi dual clutch transmissions comes as the company moves away from dual clutch in favour of smoother and more reliable torque converter transmissions for its more performance cars, such S4 and S5 models.
Florian Beck, powertrain engineer for the new Audi S4 and S5, told Drive magazine in Australia that the shift away from dual clutch transmissions was primarily “a torque issue”.
“You have to look at the maximum torque. Up to 400Nm is the perfect combination for the dual clutch transmission, but this one has more than 500Nm,” he said.
However, VW and Audi have not exactly had a smooth ride with dual-clutch transmissions, recalling thousands of cars equipped with a dry-clutch seven-speed auto primarily used in low-power applications.
Audi has been active in China since 1988 and has since led the country’s premium segment. The Audi joint venture FAW‑Volkswagen produces the models Audi A6 L, Audi A4 L, Audi Q5* and Audi Q3* in Changchun in northern China. The joint venture plant in Foshan in the south of China produces the Audi A3 Sportback* and the Audi A3 Sedan*.