Audi's cost-cutting drive saved more than E100 million last year and the Volkswagen group division hopes to equal that this year.
More than 80 percent of the savings achieved since Audi CEO Martin Winterkorn was appointed last March have been in reduced production costs, said Chief Controller Wilhelm Kirchberger.
Many economizing measures in sales and administrative spending accounted for the balance of the savings, he said. One example: Replacing most business cars used on factory grounds with buses.
The production saving is between E200 and E300 per car.
"In 2003 we are hoping to increase productivity by about 5 percent," Kirchberger said.
With the A8, Audi switched to a scheduling system it calls "string of pearls." Eight days before production the exact build order is fixed, letting Audi and suppliers plan more accurately and cutting procurement costs by E100 per car.
Audi will cut production costs on the new A3 as it opens a E500 million body shop and stamping shop at its Ingolstadt plant.
Audi also has reached a first-stage agreement with the works council on more flexible hours.
Pia Krix writes for Automobilwoche, a sister publication to Automotive News Europe.