Larger TT line-up planned to combat falling coupé sales and diminished demand for compact niche models

Audi's new TT line-up could be expanded to include the launch of a 'family car'.

According to Audi technical chief Ulrich Hackenberg, the company is “working on future derivatives of the TT” in addition to the established coupé and roadster versions. “We are looking to see if there is more we can do,” Hackenberg said. “Could the TT be extended as a family car?”

Audi has already shown two high-performance TT-based concepts - the TT Ultra and 414bhp TT Quattro Sport - in the past 12 months. It has also had a second stab at a TT shooting brake, unveiling a concept based on the recently revealed third-generation TT.

It’s thought that Audi’s decision has been triggered partly by a plan to move from today’s 49-model line-up to 60 models over the medium term. The TT has become a highly potent sub-brand thanks to its status as a design icon. But despite its high profile and a relatively affordable starting price of £25,000, the TT sold just 18,353 units last year (down from 21,880 in 2012) - a tiny fraction of the 1.6 million cars that Audi sold globally in the same period. 

Sales of coupés in general are suffering in today’s market. According to figures from automotive analyst JATO Dynamics, coupé sales fell by 31 per cent in Europe last year, making it the worst-performing segment. Premium coupé sales were also down by 21 per cent.

By contrast, sales of cars in compact premium sector rose by 24 per cent in Europe last year, second only to small SUVs and crossovers in the major market niches. 

Global sales of the Audi A3 jumped from 164,666 in 2012 to 221,097 last year, while sales of the Q3 compact SUV jumped from 106,466 to 152,163 over the same period.

These shifts in the new car market make it clear that the biggest opportunities for more mainstream derivatives of the TT lie in the compact premium sectors. A compact saloon or fastback to compete with the Mercedes-Benz CLA would be the most logical immediate extension of the TT family. 

The biggest question for the Audi board is whether a compact TT saloon would work based on the new A3 saloon’s MQB platform, rather than on a stretched version of the coupé’s expensive steel and aluminium hybrid architecture. The former platform would be essential if Audi wants to build a direct CLA rival.

Audi is running to catch up with the CLA, which has proved to be a smash hit, especially among the affluent under-40s new car buyers so sought after by premium car makers. Indeed, Scott Keogh, president of Audi US, said the market for entry-level luxury cars will “increase by 400 per cent” between now and 2020. 

Audi has commissioned a series of celebrity-endorsed advertisments in the US for the launch of the A3. Additionally, a 64-page guide to holding parties to attract ‘cool, young and urban’ customers was sent to Audi’s 280 US dealers. 

The manufacturer wants to see the A3 being marketed to new car buyers aged from their mid 20s to early 40s. If it can get a firm foothold in this booming segment, a TT-inspired follow-up would be a huge help to Audi in the US.

Take a closer look at the new Audi TT.

The TT family so far

1995 TT concept

The original TT concept was commissioned by Ulrich Hackenberg and realised in four weeks by J Mays and Freeman Thomas.

2005 TT Shooting Brake

The second-generation TT — based on a sophisticated hybrid steel and aluminium platform — was previewed by the 2005 Shooting Brake.

2013 TT Ultra Quattro

The Ultra Quattro concept was 283kg lighter than the stock Mk2 TT thanks to the extensive use of carbonfibre in the structure.

2014 TT Shooting Brake

Audi repeated its Shooting Brake concept trick early this year. This incarnation heralded the arrival of the third-generation TT.

2014 TT Quattro Sport

Mk3 TT-based concept featuring a 414bhp 2.0-litre TFSI engine, giving a power-to-weight ratio of 308bhp per tonne. 

Our Verdict

The Audi TT remains a design icon, and is now a car that’s genuinely fun to drive no matter what engine or trim you choose

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Comments
14

30 March 2014
Huh? So is this meant to fit in between the S3 saloon and S4? DId someone put acid in my coffee?

30 March 2014
Ha ha... they are nothing but stodgy hatches. Shooting brakes are beautiful and sleek. If the sales haven't been so great lately then surely its time to offer some thing new and fresh, not just yet another carbon copy.

30 March 2014
But it's not Tuesday yet!

30 March 2014
So this will fit somewhere between the A3 hatch, A3 Sportback, A3 Saloon, A4 Saloon, A4 Avant and A5 Sportback? Yep, there's a BIG gap to fill.

30 March 2014
Just a shrunken A5........?,either way,it's just the same wooden steering Audi.

Peter Cavellini.

30 March 2014
The sales are low, but quality equally so, two friends have them and problems galore . The TT is made in Hungary, I would wan't one made in Germany for the price. Just like BMW make the sports car and all suv's in the USA, quality not as it should be by looking at the JD Power survey.

30 March 2014
I wonder how long before we see the likes of Audi and BMW move into the commercial vehicles market, Mercedes make vans and trucks, and it doesnt damage their image, I am surprised we haven't seen an upmarket Audi transporter or a 2 series Active van, go on you know it makes sense..

30 March 2014
So the A3 saloon isn't a rival for the cla?

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10 years of Smart ownership over, sensible car mode activated

31 March 2014
Eh? Sorry, but Ingolstadt have completely lost the plot here. How many ugly sloping backed 4 doors does Germany intend to make? There are only so many rich blind people with no taste to buy them....

30 March 2014
What about the A3? they don't need something else,even these Sportback/Gran coupe styles are stretching it.Just bring on the RS3 and forget this rubbish.The Lightweight models are promising though,a cheaper 4WD GT3?

Madmac

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