Audi to decide on battery production in Germany in next 1-2 years: CEO

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler speaks during the company's annual news conference in Ingolstadt, Germany March 15, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

BERLIN (Reuters) - Audi's NSUG.DE top management will decide in the next year or two whether to build batteries for its vast electric-car program in its high-cost German home market, its chief executive said.

Audi’s labor leaders have urged management to invest in battery-cell technology and to assemble powerpacks at the two core factories in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, where R&D operations and two thirds of the 91,000 workforce are based.

“We have not yet taken a decision on this matter,” Chief Executive Rupert Stadler told journalists after the brand’s annual news conference on Thursday.

Audi has set up battery-making facilities in Brussels where the carmaker will start making the all-electric e-tron sport-utility vehicle this year.

Audi has picked the small plant, with a staff of 2,700 people, as a lead factory for electric mobility within the parent Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE group.

“It’s also a question of space,” Stadler said. “Here (in Germany) it is definitely a bit more complex. We will have to decide this in the next one to two years,” he said.

Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Maria Sheahan