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Audi updates to maintain momentum in 2012

Volume boost: Audi is applying MY2012 equipment upgrades to even its top-selling models in a bid to stay competitive and keep its volume on an upward trend into next year.

MY12 upgrades, new models, limited-editions to maintain Audi's 'sustainable' growth

Audi logo9 Dec 2011

AUDI'S seven-year streak of double-digit annual growth in Australia looks likely to end this year, with sales up a more modest 8.6 per cent to the end of November, in a market down 2.4 per cent.

However, after surpassing its 2010 total of 12,900 sales by 639 units, Audi is having another record year and with a projected 14,500 sales by year’s end, remains uniquely successful among its German luxury peers in Australia.

Australian Audi sales so far this year (13,539) still lag behind BMW (15,595) and Mercedes-Benz (14,934, excluding commercials), but its sustained growth is encroaching on their market share, with both BMW and Mercedes-Benz experiencing respective downturns of 4.8 and 3.7 per cent.

Globally, Audi has reached the number two spot in the three-way sales race between the German luxury marques, outselling rival Mercedes-Benz by almost 60,000 units, and has a target of doing the same to BMW by the middle of the decade.

Speaking at this week's drive event for Audi's range of performance-oriented special-editions, Audi Australia managing director Uwe Hagen said standard equipment upgrades for MY2012 models, the brand's annual Open Haus special offer event in January and the arrival of yet more new models would get next year off to a good start, as would ongoing investment in developing the dealer network.

He conceded that as the brand became more established in Australia it would be harder to sustain its annual double-digit growth spurt because “the closer to the summit the thinner the air”, but that smaller percentage gains on enlarged volume still represented a good result for dealers.

Mr Hagen said dealers would also benefit from the increased number of Audis on the road, with higher demand for high-margin areas of the business, including parts, servicing and used cars.

No-cost upgrades for its MY2012 models – now available from Audi showrooms – include extra standard kit on the A1, A3, A4, A5 and Q5, all of which will receive the Audi Connect in-car Internet and telematics system.

7 center imageLeft, from top: Audi A1 Sportback, R8 GT Spyder, Q3.For no extra cost, A1 models with the 90kW 1.4 TFSI engine also get standard Bluetooth hands-free telephone and audio streaming plus steering wheel controls, while the entry-level Attraction specification adds a multi-function Driver Information System to the instrument display.

A new $2000 Technik package available on A1 Attraction and Ambition variants includes Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, automatic climate-control and rear parking sensors.

Mr Hagen said he was pleased with sales of the A1, which with 1680 sales year-to-date, has rapidly become one of Audi's best sellers, putting it on a level with more established models.

A3 Sportback and Cabriolet models also get standard Bluetooth, while the A4 sedan and Avant wagon – due for a facelift mid-2012 – are in line for generous equipment upgrades as the model line enters run-out, including standard seven-inch satellite-navigation with 10GB hard drive for music storage and a DVD player for top-spec 2.0 TFSI Quattro, 3.0 TDI and 3.2 FSI variants.

Lower down the A4 range, 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TDI models gain rear parking sensors, while the 2.0 TFSI Multitronic and 2.7 TDI pick up electric seat adjustment and an interior lighting package.

Although the Q5 is Audi's second-best-selling model, with 2578 sales this year representing a 16 per cent increase, all MY2012 variants will get standard front and rear parking sensors, electric tailgate and MP3 player integration through the Audi Multi Media Interface.

Flagship 3.0 TDI and 3.2FSI variants also add Xenon headlights to their list of standard equipment.

With the exception of entry-level 2.0 TFSI models, all A5 coupe, cabriolet and Sportback variants now also come standard with the same seven-inch satellite-navigation and DVD unit as fitted to up-spec MY2012 A4s.

As GoAuto has reported, Audi is also generating interest for its more exclusive high-performance models with limited-editions of its R8 supercar, RS5 coupe, TT RS sports car and S3 Sportback hot-hatch, while an A1 Competition Kit will become available early next year.

Audi Australia general manager for corporate communications Anna Burgdorf said orders had been taken for 12 of the 45 examples of the TT RS, which debuts a seven-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch transmission on the model, while 18 of 25 RS5 Special Editions were already taken, and so far one of 10 R8 Carbon Editions is spoken for.

New model additions for next year will begin in the first quarter with the Q3 compact SUV and automatic S-Tronic transmissions for the TT in 1.8-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel guise.

The five-door A1 Sportback will arrive in the second quarter, along with just five examples of the hardcore R8 GT Spyder.

Peppered across the rest of the year will be the twin-turbo V8-powered S6, S7 and S8 trio, the jacked-up A4 Allroad crossover and the A6 Avant wagon.

Mr Hagen concluded that 2011 had been a challenging year for Audi and the automotive industry but that the company would “grow with the challenges” and aimed to continue on a path of sustainable growth.

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