Speaking at the Automobilwoche conference in Berlin, Germany, earlier this week, Audi chairman, Rupert Stadler, criticised German politicians for putting their own career interests ahead of the interests of the automotive industry.

"Unfortunately the CO2 debate hasn't exactly been a model of objectivity. And the means that are being used to assert individual interests are often more than a little dubious. Some politicians are looking to further their own career at the expense of a key industry," said Stadler.

Stadler added that he believe the environment challenge is an opportunity to demonstrate his company's "powers of innovation". He explained that Audi has developed a modular efficiency toolkit to further optimise the efficiency of the engine and powertrain, as well as the air conditioning, cooling and electrical components, for example. "We have already introduced the first modules in our A3 and A4 efficiency models."

In his speech Stadler focused on the increasing importance of working closely with suppliers and in particular the importance of exchanging information about market trends and how to realise innovative concepts. "It's very useful if both manufacturer and supplier speak the same language - and not just in a figurative sense. That's why, even in the age of globalisation, many of Audi's partners for key modules and innovations come from Germany," said Stadler.