Aggressively priced supermini steps up interior game, but lacks performance...
Like sister brand Volkswagen, Audi is committed to massively expanding sales of electrified models in the future. At the annual financial conference in Ingolstadt this morning, Audi bosses said that the company would have 20 electrified models in its range by 2025.
On the issue of the cost of developing EVs, Stadler said “co-operation with Porsche” on the new electric car platform, called J1 internally (and shared with the Porsche Mission E), has “reduced development costs by three digit million Euro amount”.
Stadler also revealed that all core Audi models will be offered with “at least mild-hybrid” engine options. “The switch to the WLTP [the new industry fuel economy test] cycle is proving extremely challenging but we are currently doing type approval for engine and gearbox variants,” he said.
Stadler said the changes would include the launch of “10 new sporty SUV variants” for the important Chinese market – seven of which will be made locally and four will be electric.
The Chinese premium market has turned heavily towards SUVs and Audi’s Q models accounted for half of all Audi sales in the country last year. A long-wheelbase version of the Q2 will also be launched in China this year.
Interestingly, Audi’s CFO said that one-third of the engine and transmission options offered on the current A3 range had not been sold, so the new A3 would see a cost-saving reduction in transmission options. CFO Alexander Seitz also hinted at an additional model series alongside the new A3 “aimed at younger buyers” without giving further details.
Many of Audi’s powertrain changes come in light of the diesel scandal, which Stadler said made 2017 a “very challenging year”, alongside Audi’s sales stumble in China.
“The diesel issue is taking up significant time and it is not yet over, but we are working untiringly on the technical issues, but the clarification of legal issues will take more time,” he said. “We regret the uncertainty for our customers and employees but we have learned from our mistakes.”
Stadler also said that the company’s whistleblower system had been overhauled, and that ‘integrity and regaining trust’ were future top priorities for Audi.