Audi: No Plans to Ditch Cars
Audi sees a future for all types of traditional cars, even as its own sales follow the industrywide migration to SUV/crossovers.
Demand for various segments will vary by region. But there’s room for sedans, coupes, convertibles and even wagons, Hildegard Wortmann, Audi’s global sales and marketing chief, tells Autoblog.
In fact, she says there has been “a little of bit of a renaissance in certain parts of the world” for sedans. Sales, for example, remain relatively strong in Europe, China and other Asian markets, despite fading interest among Americans.
There’s less love for coupes and convertibles, and Audi has scaled back its offerings accordingly. But don’t count them out entirely.
2020 Audi A6. (Image: Audi)
"Coupes and convertibles are highly emotional cars, so they will always have their right of existence," Wortmann says. She notes that desirable designs, regardless of body type, prompt customers to say, “I want one of those.”
Wortman, who joined Audi last summer after spending about 20 years with rival BMW, knows the market well. Her credits include helping to relaunch Mini nameplate and introducing “i’-badged Bimmer electric vehicles.
However, even she can be taken by surprise. In the case of the RS 6 Avant station wagon’s U.S. debut, at least it was a pleasant one. Whereas Wortmann suggests critics called Audi crazy for bringing the sport wagon to the U.S., she says buyers are the ones who are actually going mad over it. Fueling the excitement: The car’s high-powered twin-turbo V-8 kicks out 592 hp and 590 lb-ft of toque.
SUVs Reign Supreme
Audi’s global sales increased nearly 2% last year to more than 1.8 million units, with SUV/crossover playing a big part in the success. Sales of C-segment utilities rocketed 46%, thanks to the launch of the midsize e-tron EV and flagship Q8 models.
In the U.S., SUV/crossovers accounted for 61% of Audi’s sales last year, compared with just under 57% in 2018. And the trend is accelerating. In December, sales of the high-riding models grew to 66% of Audi’s business.
Audi America also posted healthy double-digit gains last year with its A6 (+69%), A7 (+29%) and A8 (+85%) cars.
Wortmann plans to keep close tabs on demand to see if see if a change in mix is warranted. For now, it’s a win-win across the company’s segments.
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