Despite an even better than expected reception in Europe, Audi still has no plans to bring its A1 subcompact model to North America. Initial production for Europe was scheduled to be 50,000 units, but Audi may look at upping that number thanks to overwhelming demand.
In Europe the “small premium” segment is catching on fast with the A1 designed to take on the current segment leader, the MINI Cooper.
No doubt Audi’s hesitance to bring the A1 to North America is due to its size (although it is slightly larger than a MINI Cooper) as well as brand perception. Audi is working hard in North America to establish itself as more than just a BMW and Mercedes follower. Instead, Audi wants to establish itself as a segment leader with significant focus on flagship models like the A8 and R8. A car like the A1 could potentially damage that image. After all, it’s not like BMW risked its own brand image in introducing the MINI lineup.
While we understand Audi’s predicament, we have to think an A1 with the 1.4-liter TFSI engine with 122-hp and 147 ft-lbs of torque mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic would make for an impressive ride.