See attached photo 1 - I see no humans, only robotsIndeed, and the more I see of this thread, the more I understand why Audi has not followed on with another A2. Most car production is done by robots these days, which allows economy of manufacture, and hence higher profit margins. From the pictures and descriptions in the thread it is obvious that the A2 must have been VERY labour intensive to manufacture (highly skilled labour at that) so I now understand why it was so expensive, and was probably never very profitable. Fascinating thread, and highly educational too.
2nd photo shows why it was expensive. The space frame consists 225 pieces, cast, machined and (I believe) extruded aluminium, each of which has different properties and needs to be assembled with different techniques (weld, glue, rivets, etc). Whilst that was highly automated it really needed volume to get the payback. But the A2 was not built for volume; it was built (I believe) to refine the production technique for the next A8 model. And anyway, to get volume needed a bigger factory and more investment. The margins were just not there on a small car but are for the more prestigious A8.
There is a very long article with photos on the technical aspects and challenges of building the A2 here:
According to the article:
"Audi has also made a major investment in automation, which accounts for a modest 25% of the A8's build but for more than 80% for the A2"