Audi do Brasil will keep producing the previous-generation A3 model until the second half of 2006.

Last year, Audi HQ in Germany announced that Brazilian A3 production would end by the close of 2005, but the local unit negotiated an extension.

By the end of next year Audi will start importing the redesigned A3 that will be sold alongside the previous model for a time.

Audi A3 assembly in Brazil in 1999 at the Volkswagen/Audi plant in São José dos Pinhais city, in Paraná state. But production never exceeded 12,000 units per year for sale both locally and in other South American countries. Last year the company stopped production of the three-door version but continued making the five-door.

The death sentence for the Brazilian-made A3 was conferred in 2002 when VW Group decided to produce the Golf V in Mexico instead of Brazil, where the Golf IV is still made.

Without the new Golf to share the platform, Audi decided it wasn't viable to make the new A3 in Brazil.

Nowadays, the São José dos Pinhais plant produces the Golf IV and Fox as well as the A3. To keep the now-obsolete Golf IV fresh, Volkswagen plans a face-lift in 2005.

Rogerio Louro