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Audi’s product-led push to topple BMW in 2016

Tiny Q: Audi will try and lure buyers from top-end mainstream product such as the flagship versions of the Mazda CX-3 with its Q2 that will make its debut this week.

Fast-tracked A4 variants lead busy launch phase that may see Audi beat BMW

29 Feb 2016

AUDI Australia has its sights on reeling in BMW this year, with the four-ringed brand rushing in a slew of additional variants of the new-generation A4 and Q7, backed up in 2017 more all-new product, including a sub-Q3 crossover.

With less than 2000 registrations separating the German brands last year – 23,088 Audis versus 25,022 BMWs – and sales growing at twice the rate of both the premium market and its Munich-based arch-rival, Audi is keen to overtake BMW for second place behind Mercedes-Benz for the first time over a 12-month period in Australia. “We closed 2015 with an all-time record of over 23,000 units, up by 20 per cent,” Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle said. “Competition is tough, but we’re closing the gap, and expect to do so again in 2016.

“The premium share has increased to almost 10 per cent of the overall market, and we’re just about to kick-off a couple of years of important new-product launches.” Joining the ninth-generation A4 sedan launched last week in Canberra will be the Avant wagon version in April, followed in the second half by the sporty S4 sedan and S4 Avant.

Along with the Allroad crossover unveiled at January’s Detroit motor show, all have been fast-tracked for a 2016 release in Australia.

As the newest of the premium mid-size sedans, Audi is hopeful the A4 range will have its best chance yet to catch the BMW 3 Series, which – despite a comprehensive re-engineering revamp late last year – is now oldest in class.

Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class currently rules that segment, with 9373 units sold in 2015 compared to 4146 3 Series and just 2478 examples of the run-out previous-gen A4, while Lexus sold 2036 examples of its IS.

Several additional variants of the well-received Q7 seven-seat SUV will arrive this year, including an entry-level 140kW 3.0 TDI this month, the diesel-electric e-tron plug-in, and perhaps even the SQ7 high-performance flagship that has been spied testing in Europe.

Along with the second-gen R8 supercar out in June, the SQ7 will serve to stamp Audi’s authority in the luxury performance sphere.

The new-model blitz continues unabated next year, with the Q2 small SUV, one of the stars of this week’s Geneva motor show, shaping up for a first quarter arrival.

Designed with a sporty coupe-like edge, the newcomer has been created to draw younger buyers into the fold from up-spec mainstream alternatives such as the Mazda CX-3 Akari AWD, which retails for nearly $38,000 before on-road costs.

“Audi will have the youngest product line-up in the premium segment, and in a market as competitive as ours, that’s a strong position to be in,” Mr Doyle said.

Next year more A4-based variants are coming, including the second-generation A5 and S5 Sportback, Coupe, and Convertibles, as well as the all-important Q5 mid-size SUV – the second best-selling Audi after the A3 Sportback and Sedan.

The A3 will also snare an RS3 sedan offshoot to sit alongside the hatchback version, taking on the successful Mercedes-AMG CLA45 in the process.

What's coming for Audi in 2016
AprilA4 Avant
Q3A4 Allroad
Q4S4 sedan & S4 Avant
Q4Q7 e-tron

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