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At the 2012 Audi Annual Press Conference, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler confirmed that the German automaker will be manufacturing plug-in hybrid variants of their A3, A4, and Q7 models.
“While we are planning small-scale series production for this car, which is a vital element in our innovation and technology plans, the electric driving experience will become a reality for a growing clientele with our plug-in hybrids,” Stadler said.
The market launch for the A3 plug-in hybrid is set for 2014 while the next-generation A4 and Q7 will get plug-in hybrid variants starting in 2014 and in successive years. By 2020, Audi hopes to have an e-tron available in every segment to help achieve total sales in the six-figure range.
“Our pioneering vehicle in this field is the Audi A3, with the market launch of a plug-in version slated for 2014. This will be followed by the next-generation Audi A4 and Audi Q7 plug-in cars – starting in 2014 and in successive years. In 2020, we want to have an e-tron available in every segment and to achieve total sales in the six-figure range,” Stadler said.
Stadler also addressed Audi’s focus in optimizing their gas and diesel engines to help reduce CO2 emissions, spoke about the first Audi race car with a hybrid engine, and was clear that their goal for 2012 will be to “achieve stronger growth than the market as a whole.” It’s widely speculated that the automotive industry will experience a 4-percent increase in car sales this year, but Audi wants to best that average.
It will continue to target the Chinese market with hopes to achieve double-digit growth yet again. The German automaker plans to nearly double their dealer network in China by the end of 2013. The Q3 will also be introduced to China and a new generation of the popular A6L (long version) will be launched before 2012 ends.
GALLERY: Audi A3 Hatchback
Audi is bringing an all-electric A3 to the U.S. Exciting as that may be, only 17 of them will make their way across the ocean.
At the annual TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., Audi CEO Johan DeNysschen revealed plans to bring 17 A3 e-trons Stateside as a trial to see what type of reaction the car would garner from the public.
The pure battery vehicle uses a 26 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery that provides a range of 90 miles on a full charge at speeds of up to 90 mph. A similar A1 e-tron is undergoing the same testing in Europe, except that the A1 has a range-extending gasloine mated to its electric drivetrain.
Based on these initial tests, Audi will decide between the pure EV or range extended EV as the best option. “We will integrate the data generated from this program into the launch of a range of Audi e-tron models for American drivers,” said Jeff Curry, head of Audi of America’s e-mobility program.
While it’s intriguing to see Audi sending new technology to the American market, it’s also easy to wonder how much data 17 cars can really glean.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
A selection of leaked images are providing a clear picture of the next generation Audi A3 hatchback.
The photos, leaked by ZR.ru, clearly show Audi’s big hexagonal grille and the sharp lines running from where that mouth meets the pointed headlights, all the way to the windshield. Details on the car aren’t out yet, but should emerge in advance of its release expected later this year. Look for several diesel options for Europe, as well as Audi’s 2.0T gasoline engine.
The A3 is based on Volkswagen Group’s new MQB versatile platform, which is said to eventually become the underpinnings for as many as 60 models.
Traditionally, Audi always releases new products in Europe well ahead of bringing them stateside. In the past, we’ve reported that the A3 hatchback will actually be discontinued in the U.S. in favor of a more Americanized sedan.
In either case we’ll be watching to see what happens next. For now you can look at our gallery below and weigh in under the comments section.
GALLERY: 2013 Audi A3 Hatchback leaked
The five-door sedan is designed to angle in on BMW’s 1-Series and Audi’s A3 Sportback. We’re still waiting for specific details like pricing, the chance for a U.S. release and definite engine specs, but an article we ran in December suggested that several engines might be offered.
Those could include a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 120, 150 or even 180 horsepower and a diesel 1.6-liter or 2.0 liter as well. The new V40 will be 175 inches long and run on a stretched-out version of the C30 platform.
We’ll be reporting from Geneva next month, bringing you the latest details as they emerge.
GALLERY: Volvo V40 spy photos
Hatchbacks have their place in the U.S. but the term evokes a less-than-sporty image that sullies the sexy feel luxury manufacturers seek to embody.
That opinion is probably part of the reason why Audi is discontinuing the hatchback A3 for North America with the 2014 model year. Hatchbacks can make fantastic use of a relatively small space— at an aesthetic cost to some. While the decision may be frustrating to certain consumers, it will be hard to argue with the distincly Audi and definitely sexy new A3.
We got our first look at the A3 sedan during last year’s Geneva Auto Show, when the car was billed as a concept. At the time, Audi had a 408-hp turbocharged 5 cylinder shoehorned into the concept, which was actually about 6 inches longer than the A3 hatchback. It’s unlikely that we’ll see such a serious engine in the production model slated for North America, though our hopes still remain for an RS3 version.
Instead, a 2.0-liter 4 cylinder and a diesel option stand much better chances of shipping under the hood. The A3 is aimed directly at entry-level luxury consumers, young professionals who would be scared off by otherwise high luxury price tags. That means you can expect similar craftsmanship as other Audi interiors, albeit at a lower starting price of around $30,000.
GALLERY: 2014 Audi A3 Sedan
[Source: Road & Track]
Audi‘s expansion plans are materializing to the tune of €13 billion by 2016, heralding growth that enthusiasts are sure to cheer for and that will provide new jobs for German students.
That €13 billion will mostly go towards new technology, but the company is also looking to add about 1,200 new specialists to their team in 2012. That number is in addition to the 3,500 new employees the company added this year. Audi plans to find the fresh blood by offering permanent contracts to students from vocational academies and StEP program (Study and Experience in Practice) students once they finish their training.
Despite bringing so many new hands on deck, the company plans to spend €10.5 billion on new hybrid and electric vehicles.
“To maintain our profitable growth, we will step up investment spending on new products,” said Axel Strotbek, Member of the Board of Management for Finance and Organization at Audi AG.
On the more immediate horizon, the automaker also confirmed new models for 2012: the A8 hybrid that uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder and the next generation A3. Along with that, the company also confirmed the 2013 A6 allroad Quattro and fully electric R8 e-Tron (pictured above).
GALLERY: Audi R8 e-Tron:
This week, a news report was released by Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com, proclaiming Audi as the number one luxury brand for best total cost of ownership.
The data confirmed that Audi yields the lowest average Total Cost of Ownership for the initial five-year ownership period, beating all other luxury brands. The Total Cost of Ownership breaks down the typical ownership costs for a particular vehicle, including depreciation, expected fuel, repair, maintenance and insurance costs. Audi’s success has been driven largely by the A3 2.oT and A4 2.0T models, due to their minimal depreciation and industry-leading fuel economy.
he 2.0-liter TFSI engine produces 211-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The engine combines Audi’s valvelift system, variable valve timing and TFSI direct injection for increased power and efficiency. The German automaker has already sold more than 1.3 million of these engines, and is one of the most acclaimed powerplants of the last decade.
North Americans only received the small Golf-based A3 hatchback a few years ago, but Audi is planning to expand the lineup with a fastback four-door sedan at the Geneva Auto Show packing 400+ horsepower and quattro AWD.
The power comes courtesy of a turbocharged 5-cylinder engine, attached with precision to a 7-speed S-tronic transmission. Stylistically, the teaser above shows us the trademark LED lights and angular Audi grille from its incredible Quattro Concept and puts it in a package that isn’t just aimed at drooling 1980s rally nerds (like us).
At 14.5 feet long, it will be approximately the same size as the A4 (15.4 feet). But after news of the A5 Sportback and the A7 coming to American shores, Audi hasn’t been shying away from overpopulating the market. The A3 will continue to compete against the 1-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Coupe.
GALLERY: Audi A3 4-Door Concept
Audi can’t get ‘em out the door fast enough. The comapny’s factories are running at full capacity to meet record demand for the A6 sedan and A3 hatchback, forcing buyers to wait an average of three to four months to take delivery.
During normal sales periods customers usually take delivery of their cars within eight to ten weeks, says an Audi spokesperson. But Germany’s three largest manufacturers BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen have reported record sales throughout January, while the Volkswagen Group has both the highest sales figures and the strongest share values.
Likewise, the situation at Audi is more tense; they are delivering vehicles to consumers two months after their competitors. BMW’s customers wait three months at most, with up to six months for the popular BMW X3. Mercedes sales are close to 2007 levels, just as they were before the recession. But at Audi, “if sales continue to grow like this,” says Audi sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer, ”it’ll be difficult to say how long it could take to reduce waiting times.”
Audi expects double-digit growth in both China and the U.S., coming after record sales figures of 1.09 million cars last year. Growing demand in Germany, the United States, and powerhouse market China are putting the pressure on the manufacturers. And in response, Audi, BMW and Mercedes are all planning to add or expand their factories.
Can the momentum carry on without a deluge of angry customers? It might seem like a blessing to have so much demand that they can’t build them fast enough. But the company needs to act fast to keep buyers happy, otherwise soon they’ll be wishing they were back in this position.
With the new A3 due out in 2011 rumors of performance and hybrid versions of the car have already emerged.
In the performance category Audi is expected to release an RS3, which will be powered by the same turbocharged five-cylinder currently found in the TT-RS. Output won’t be quite as significant, but expect lots of boost on tap and a much as 335hp and 332 ft-lbs of torque. The RS3 will also make use of Audi’s quattro system and will use a new seven-speed DSG gearbox.
The car will be aimed squarely at the Ford Focus RS as well as BMW’s 135 – which increases the likelihood of this high-performance A3 model actually making it to the U.S.
In the fuel-efficient category, a hybrid version of the A3 is also expected and will use the same essential system that will power the upcoming hybrid Golf. The car will be the result of VW’s TwinDrive program and feature a 1.6-liter diesel engine with 105hp mated to a 30kW electric motor for the front wheels and two 30kW motors for the rear wheels. A lithium-ion battery pack will also be a part of the package. This system would essentially allow the A3 Hybrid to function as an all-wheel drive vehicle at low speeds and until the stored energy is depleted.
The A3 Hybrid, or A3 TwinDrive as it is likely to be called, would be able to travel on pure electric power for 31 miles and could get as much as 113 mpg.
As for the upcoming A3, expect a four-door version for sale in North America.
[Photo Credit: MTM]
TT and A3 will also lose V6 powerplant
If you are looking at purchasing an Audi A4 (or A3 or TT for that matter) with the 3.2-liter V6 engine, now is the time to act. Come next year Audi has made the decision to cut the V6 engine from its lineup on those three models.
The move comes as Audi has noticed a serious drop in demand for the V6 engine. Apparently for every 3.2-liter V6 A4 sold, Audi sells nine of the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder units.
Audi Corporate Communications boss Bradley Stertz told Autoblog that the move has less to do with the drop in demand for that particular engine and more to do with other options that have been added to the Audi lineup recently.
Those looking for a more powerful A4 can always opt for the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 (offered at a serious premium in the S4). As for the A3, it will be offered with a TDI turbo-diesel powerplant soon, while the TTS gives TT owners a peppier version of the base 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, that produces 265hp and 258 ft-lbs of torque, matching the V6 in horsepower and beating it in the torque category.
We won’t particularly miss the V6 either, as mentioned in our review of the A4, especially as the turbo 2.0 is such a strong engine and delivers excellent performance with better fuel-economy for significantly less.
Audi did not comment on if the TTS’s engine might replace the V6 in the near future.