Audi is preparing a massive product assault and makeover to double its annual sales to 1.5 million by 2015, supplier sources have told Automotive News Europe.
The internal target is far more ambitious than Audi’s public goal of 1 million by 2007 or 2008 from 779,000 units last year. To achieve such a massive gain, the Volkswagen group’s premium brand plans to greatly increase its product line-up, emphasize high-margin S models and quattro technology and create vehicles that are more distinct from parent VW.
Audi’s growth effort has two main guidelines:
– Expand the number of body styles every time a core model is replaced.
– Add crossovers, sports cars and other niche models.
“Audi recognises it must have many more product offerings to compete directly with BMW and Mercedes-Benz,” one supplier source said. “And it is determined to do so.”
Audi’s product assault between now and 2008 includes two SUVs – the Q7 and a smaller SUV called the Q5 – an added four-seat coupe with a cabriolet version, and a production version of the mid engine LeMans concept.
It also includes offering more body styles for each core model when they are replaced. For example. the current A3 has three-door and five-door variants. Its replacement will have those plus a four-door-sedan, a coupe and perhaps a convertible.
A crucial element in this product offensive is a new vehicle architecture that Audi has created for its larger sedans, code-named B-C-D. The code-name refers to former VW group platform designations – B for the lower-premium A4, C for the medium-premium A6 and D for the upper premium A8.
The B-C-D platform is very flexible in terms of length, wheelbase and width and will be used for the A4 and A6 replacements. The next A8 will continue to have its own aluminium spaceframe, but it will share B-C-D components and modules.