AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
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
BMW’s decision to build the X6 coupe-styled SUV may have seemed absurd at first, but demand for the unique and sporty AWD machine has far exceeded expectations, giving rise to rumors of competitors from the automaker’s main rivals.
The latest comes from Audi, and it’s more than just a rumor with Audi boss Rupert Stadler recently commenting that, ““We can imagine a model between the Q5 and the Q7… a coupe like, four-wheel driven model.”
Based on the same chassis as the Q7 SUV, the vehicle (likely to wear the ‘Q6′ badge). is reportedly already under development.
The push for the vehicle comes from Audi dealers in the U.S. and China, where customers are eager for a model between the Q5 and Q7.
And with a Q6 model breaking new ground for Audi, look for the automaker to follow a path similar to BMW, with a high-performance offering as well. The team at AutoCar suggests a Q6 RS model could even make use of the company’s upcoming turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine.
Much like parent company Volkswagen has its sights set on global domination, Audi feels it will soon surpass BMW to become the world’s number one premium automaker. According to CEO Rupert Stadler, Audi believes it can overtake BMW by 2015.
Confidence at Audi comes party from news that it recently surpassed Mercedes-Benz in the global sales race. Interest in the new A1 has also helped and will continue to help Audi sell significantly more volume, while Audi will also introduce new A7 and Q3 models in the near future, to further expand its product lineup.
So far this year, Audi’s global sales are up 20 percent, thanks to expansion in China and significant growth in the U.S. And while expanding markets are crucial for any automaker, Audi is closely watching the 30 percent rise in the U.S., where it still sells only a fraction as many vehicles as its German rivals.
[Source: Automotive News via WorldCarFans]
Audi execs have repeatedly said that the A1 mini-car will not be sold in the U.S. But now Audi boss Rupert Stadler has confirmed that it will be sold here, but not any time soon. According to a report by Car & Driver, Audi is planning to sell its second-generation of the MINI competitor in North America.
The wait will be a long one too, with the A1 just having launched in Europe with a long production cycle, that won’t see the next car for seven more years.
The current A1 is just 155.5-inches in length (with a 97.2-inch wheelbase), 68.5-inches wider and 56-inches tall. Under the hood there are four engine choices. Diesel options include two 1.6-liter versions with either 90-hp and 169 ft-lbs of torque or 105-hp and 184 ft-lbs of torque. Gasoline models get either a tiny 1.2-liter TFSI 4-cylinder with 86-hp and 118 ft-lbs of torque or a 1.4-liter TFSI with 122-hp and 147 ft-lbs of torque. Five and six-speed manual transmissions come standard, while a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is available. Audi rates both gas engines at 46 mpg in the European test cycle, while this tiny car delivers 9.43 cubic-feet of cargo room, which increases to a total of 32.5 cu.-ft. with the rear seats folded flat.
GALLERY: Audi A1 Debut in Geneva
[Source: Car & Driver]
With Audi‘s recent unveiling of the A8 Hybrid at the Geneva Auto Show and news the Q5 Hybrid is on its way, Audi has made known plans to add more hybrid models, starting with the A6. According to a report by AutoWeek, the next-generation A6 will be offered in full hybrid form late in 2012 as a 2013 model.
Audi is likely to add even more hybrid variants of its models after that, with a plan to significantly increase is offering of hybrid and electric cars over the next few years. The move is part of a plan by parent company Volkswagen to “own” the alternative power segment. VW will have some catching up to do, however, as Toyota already has quite a head start. However, VW also plans to surpass Toyota as the world’s largest auto maker over the next few years.
In addition, VW will make a big push with electric cars, having recently shown several Audi E-Tron concepts at different auto shows throughout the world. According to Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, Audi aims to build e-tron to become synonymous with electric vehicles, just as quattro has become synonymous with all-wheel drive.
Along with Audi developing its own E-tron models, VW will bring a slew of EVs to market in the next few years, including an E-Up (an electric Up minicar), an E-Golf and an E-Jetta. According to VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn, the E-Jetta will go on sale in the U.S., but probably not until 2013.
In addition to these changes, Audi also plans to improve the efficiency of its gasoline engines by 30 percent by 2020.
Audi will revive the A2 model, to slot in between its A3 hatchback and the funky new A1 model, which the company debuted at the Geneva Auto Show last week. “There’s clearly room for another product and another concept between the A3 and A1,” said Audi CEO Rupert Stadler to AutoWeek, which comes as a bit of a surprise considering how close the two models really are.
According to the AutoWeek report, the A2 will play a role in Audi’s electric vehicle push, with a new model expected to arrive in 2014. It’s not clear if the next generation A2 will keep the original’s function-first approach or if Audi will attempt to make it a more premium and more sport-oriented model.
There is a strong possibility that the A2 will actually just be an electric version of the A1 (shown as the A1 E-Tron in Geneva).
New A8 flagship gets more style, power and luxury
Shown previously during the Design Week festivities in Miami, Audi’s new 2011 A8 flagship luxury sedan has now made its auto show debut in Detroit. Now you might not have believed that Audi’s massive front grille could get any more…. well… massive, but it has.
In addition to this new design cue, which is sure to make its way down through the rest of the Audi brand as new models roll out, the flagship A8 also takes some design elements from car’s like the A4 and A5 – including the sporty rear end.
Sporty is exactly where Audi wants to take the new A8. To aid in making the car a more nimble handler, it gets Audi’s light weight aluminum space frame. The car is both longer and wider than its competitors and yet has a lower overall height for a better center of gravity. Compared to the previous A8, Audi says it is 3-inches longer and 2-inches wider. Audi hasn’t released any specific info on the curb weight of the vehicle but says it will be 50 lbs less than an S-Class and 200-lbs less than a 7 Series. Those numbers jump to 200 and 400 lbs respectively, if you put the AWD Audi up against AWD versions from Mercedes and BMW.
Under the hood there’s an updated version of Audi’s 4.2-liter V8 engine with 372-hp and 328 ft-lbs of torque, for a 0-62 mph time of just 5.7 seconds. Thanks in part to a new eight-speed tiptronic gearbox, Audi claims an improvement in fuel-efficiency by 15 percent.
Technological highlights on the car include a new version of Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) called MMI Touch, that can recognize handwriting for entering navigation instructions. There’s also adaptive cruise control, night vision assist, Audi lane assist and Audi side assist, Audi braking guard to notify a driver of an impact and automatic emergency braking to actually stop the car if the driver doesn’t react. Finally there are some stunning full-LED headlights, that will actually point into a corner in accordance with the navigation system. And as for the A8’s new body, it is incredibly aerodynamic, with a drag coefficient of just 0.26 cd – just one tick off the Prius’s.
The all-new 2011 Audi A8 will go on sale late in 2010, with an extended wheelbase model offered at the same time.
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler confirmed during Audi’s press conference in Detroit, that a hybrid version of the A8 is on its way and will debut at the Geneva Auto Show in march.
GALLERY: 2011 Audi A8
During a press conference that focused on Audi’s E-Tron electric concept, the German automaker didn’t give much time to hybrid technology – except to add on that hybrid versions of the Q5 and A8 are coming…. soon.
Audi continues to put the main focus on its electric car developments, while quietly following the same hybrid path every other automaker is on.
At the end of the E-Tron press conference, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler commented that Audi is skipping the mild-hybrid step that most automakers have gone through, launching straight into full-hybrids that are capable of operating on gasoline, electric power or a combination of both.
The Q5 Hybrid is expected later this year and Stadler commented that media drives will begin in the summer. As for an A8 hybrid, it will debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March and be based on Audi’s all-new 2011 A8 platform, which launched a few months ago.
We’ll be sure to bring you news on Audi’s hybrid developments, inclding coverage from Geneva starting March 2nd.
On December 1st Audi will finally reveal its next generation of the company’s A8 flagship luxury sedan. The unveiling will occur at a specially built Pavilion on Miami Beach, coinciding with the Audi-sponsored Design Miami and Art Basel Miami Beach art and design fairs.
Along with the all new A8, Audi will debut its “The Art of Progress” exhibit, of works inspired by the A8.
The choice of debuting the car at an art festival is no coincidence, as the new A8 is expected to be a stunning vehicle, with an all-new look, more in keeping with the automaker’s new design direction, as seen with cars like the A5/S5.
“The new Audi A8 embodies everything Audi stands for: fascinating innovation, uncompromising perfection, consummate craftsmanship, iconic design and new ways of thinking,” says Audi Borad Chair Rupert Stadler. This is why we chose to present this car in this progressive environment while continuing our commitment to fostering design culture and the arts.”
Official release after the jump: