I know this is a tired topic, but WTF does Audi want me to drive these days. I need a hatch. I want something sportier than a Q5. So I guess I'll be driving a 2007 S4 Avant until Audi gets a new CEO?
The current plan is for an A3 sedan, which should sell in *far* greater numbers than the Sportback has, plus to bring the Q3 to effectively take the place of the A3 Sportback. There is still a very small outside chance we may get the A3 Sportback, but were I a betting man I'd put it on an A3 sedan and a Q3.
Would sales of the A3 sedan take away from sales of the 4 other 4-door sedan models, though, or are these customers who would not be purchasing an audi otherwise? I'm sure the Q3 must be a success and offering a 4-door hatch A3 would be detrimental to a successful Q3 line.
In the case of the A3 sedan, just based on the interior design language we saw at CES, the car is clearly targeted at a different demographic than is the traditional A4. The A4 will be larger, more traditional and appeal to a different market segment than the A3. It's always possible that A3 sedan sales may steal from A4 sales, but as Steve Jobs said of the iPhone stealing sales from the iPod line: so long as we're cannibalizing ourselves, Apple doesn't care.
I was at the Philly Auto Show this past weekend and was surprised at the number of people looking at the A3. At one point, I had to wait a little while to check it out because there were so many people around it. I disappointed a few folks when I told them there are no plans for a hatch for the revised A3. Maybe AoA will reconsider.
The A4 Avant exists in a way through the A4 Allroad. I agree with the above posting, that the SportBack won't make it due to the Q3. They haven't said NEVER. But if the A3 sedan does 30K units/yr, and the Q3 does another 20K, then sure, maybe they can bring the SportBack.
Right now the whole A3 line (sportback) is doing less than 10K units/yr. That ain't a lot of demand. Kick and scream as much as you want, but business is business.
They decide to bring models hear they can make money with and I could see a business case for not bringing the sportback. A4 Avants, BMW wagons, Mercedes wagons don't exactly fly out of the dealership. Some like Audi's Allroad and Subaru's Outback give them the offroad look to help them look less like wagons.
I thought one of the goals of the current gen A3 Sportback was to bring new, young buyers into the brand. So, they brought me into the brand, but are not going to offer anything that I could step up into. No A5 Sportback. No A4 Avant. No A3 Sportback.
And the Q3 doesn't cut it. I've seen it, sat in it, studied it. First, it's not off the MQB. It's exterior is not especially attractive. And the packaging of the back row and trunk area are relatively tight.
It looks like bye bye Audi
Becuase, hey, let's face it, Americans don't like hatches, that why brands like Mini could NEVER survive selling just hatchbacks, and even if htey could, they'd just be low-end models that aren't optioned to the hilt with lucrative shiny bits. (If this doesn't drip with sarcasm in your ears, then you probably are a good fit for the Audi of America product development group.)
And that new BMW 328 wagon that doesn't sell? BMW just re-stated that they will keep bringing it over. Something about caring about a small but loyal contingent of customers who demand a wagon. The fact that it goes from 0-60 about half a tick slower that an S4, gets 36 mpg, and can be had with a proper stick shifted transmission doesn't hurt, either.
Audi has it's headgasket shoved up it's tailpipe lately with product offerings. Good thing Audi spends all that time and money on the fancy headlights, I bet they look great in the competition's rear view mirror.
You're collateral damage.
There are all kinds of models and variations they could bring and they do make decisions on what they think will be profitable, what company doesn't.
They could bring 5 door/sedan, FWD/AWD, manual/DSG, gas/diesel, two trim levels of each, and now they have 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 32 different cars without bringing colors or any other stand alone options in the mix. Since most in the U.S. won't deal with ordering cars and waiting for months to get them, and dealers won't stock 32 A3's (even if all one color) which ones should they build to maximize profits? No matter what they decide some won't be happy and will buy other cars. Also, each variation adds to the production costs of all of them.
I will have to wait and see if BMW is still willing to offer proper 6 speed manual in the new F31 wagon. If that is the case, that car will be most likely my A3's replacement, unless Audi decides to bring the hatchback here (with manual transmission and quattro. FWD is doable but I would still prefer AWD here in CO.). Honestly new A3 hatchback would be perfect in size (~ 172 in?). I like smaller vehicles for parallel parking.
06 STI, 6MT
04 FXT, 5MT
However, if Audi hopes to achieve their 200k/year sales goal they can't afford the "collateral damage" of losing buyers they once had. To say the A3 Sportback didn't sell in high enough volumes is a little disingenuous considering they never really marketed it in the U.S., mainly because European sales pretty much consumed the full production volume. Unless Audi has increase production capacity for the new A3 I can't imagine they have allotted much more volume to the U.S. over Europe.
For those that want the 5 door I still think the problem is they only say they want the 5 door which seems simple until you say - is the FWD, DSG, Diesel ok? Or is it the AWD, DSG, Diesel? Or the AWD gas, DSG? Or the FWD, manual, diesel? or the.....
Once you start looking at all the combinations, if they bring the 5 door (no chance at all possible configurations), some won't be happy.
My wife has a 2006 A3 She loves it, but it's long in tooth and we've been waiting for the new A3 to come out. Audi dropped the sportback, so now she's looking at either the BMW 3 series wagon (with a stick), or that jaw-droppingly hot Mercedes A Class hatch that hit the floor in Geneva yesterday. Have you even seen that thing? It makes the new A3 look 4 years old just by sitting next to it.
Now we can resume the debate about homolgation costs to the consumer. Oh, wait... the consumer already left the showroom, nevermind.
I understand the argument about not being able to offer every version. I'll take a 5door quattro manual diesel, please. But for some buyers (like me) 5-door with anything >>>>> sedan with whatever. I bought a 3.2Q even though it wasn't available in manual.
Some options are more important to offer than others, and I'd argue that a 5-door option for the A3 is about as important as anything else.
I looked at used A3s when I thought I'd need to replace my GTI. I thought the next A3 would be my next car some years from now when my beloved GTI does bite the dust. But Audi's decided that I, as a hatchback/wagon buyer, am "collateral damage". I can't even pay a bit more to get a nice A4 avant anymore.
I don't want a small SUV option. I want the option of a car.
Oh, hey, BMW has decided that it's going to deliberately support wagon buyers like me even though there aren't as many of us. Hey, look, those of us who want practicality and like the wagon/estate style like to know we're appreciated. Hey, look, once we form a lasting bond with a carmaker we're likely to return to that carmarker -- as long as they make what we want.
Hey, look, there's an AWD version, if I want.
Hey, look, I can have it delivered to me in Germany. Nice vacation. I've wanted to go there for a while now.
Hello, 328 AWD wagon.
Goodbye, Audi. Goodbye, decontented VW.