Audi’s new all-electric line of vehicles, dubbed e-tron, were so popular with customers and raked in so many pre-orders that the German automaker increased its planned production of the e-tron quattro SUV model by 15%. Now, however, those expanded production figures are in jeopardy, as Audi faces both a battery and electric motor shortage.
Audi has been forced to clip production of the e-tron quattro by 10,000 units, down to 45,242, this according to a report in The Brussel Times that cited anonymous sources close to the matter. Audi is now reportedly informing customers that the delivery of the e-tron quattro has increased by two months, up to six or seven months from order placement to vehicle delivery.
Why has Audi cut e-tron quattro production output and delayed deliveries? Two reasons.
First, its lithium-ion battery supplier LG has raised its prices due to demand. Virtually all major automakers — including Audi’s home-country rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz — are rushing into the electric vehicle market. And LG is a battery supplier to many of them. Accordingly, the South Korean battery maker is able to leverage the power of supply and demand and increase the price for its battery cells.
Since Audi, which is a part of the Volkswagen Group, had a specific cost in mind when the car was greenlit for production, a sudden increase in component price meant either raising the price to consumers or slowing production.
Secondly, recent strikes at Audi’s electric-motor production facility in Györ, Hungary that have delayed key parts availability and added extra constraints to the e-tron production.
As a result of these issues, Audi has pushed back the production of its second all-electric e-tron vehicle, the e-tron Sportback four-door coupe, to 2020. And e-tron quattro production at the Brussels plant has been cut to six hours a day, down from eight.
What’s more, the work week will reportedly be cut to four days from the traditional five.