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Audi will not abandon affordable models

German luxury brand says A1 and A3 safe for now despite rationalisation of other model lines

19 Oct 2023

AUDI Australia says it will not abandon its most affordable model lines in Australia – at least, not in the short term.


The Audi A1 is the brand’s most affordable car, with the entry-level small hatchback starting at $34,250 plus on-road costs for the base 30 TFSI, while the mid-spec 35 TFSI is $36,850, and the range-topping 40 TFSI S Line sits below the fifty grand mark at $48,450 (all +ORC).


That means that two of the three Audi A1 models are cheaper than a Skoda Fabia, and the two entry grades are also more affordable than a Volkswagen Polo GTI.


Audi Australia’s product team says it understands the brand’s smallest model still has an important role to play, and that it has no plans to kill off the cheapest Audi model line – though a rationalisation of the line-up could happen at some point.


“At the moment, it’s still important for us to have those cars, and the main reason is, they are an entry to the brand,” said Audi Australia head of product, Matthew Dale.


“The A1 has always stood for a fun hatch for a city-dweller. A3 has always been that natural progressive step. But we’ve always had overlap of and that’s why we’ve got three engine variants, so when you get to the 40 TFSI A1, that overlaps with entry-level A3.


“And the main reason for that is to give that customer a choice of getting a top of the line, bells and whistles A1, or they can step into the next segment and get something a little larger that might suit their usage, but they don’t need all the bells and whistles.


“It’s one of those things – as your life changes, if you’ve had a great experience with the brand at that entry level, you tend to stick with the brand and go through the model segments. And that changes with people's personal lives and their own changes, and if you can harness that within your own brand, that's where those two cars are very powerful in doing so.


Audi Australia product manager, Gabriella Saffo, said that it’s not only a first Audi for some customers – it can also play an important role as a second car for some families, or a smaller, more urban-friendly vehicle for older buyers.


“The opposite happens as well. So, some people say ‘let’s downsize’, like when the kids move out,” she added.


“We see a lot of older customers driving A1s, it’s not just young ones that aspire to have an Audi. There’s a place for A1 for older customers as well; they just want an easy small car, but it looks good, it’s got the features that they want, it’s fun still.


“Or it’s very often a second car. It’s the runabout, and then the weekend cruiser might be a Q7 – and we actually see a lot of empty-nesters with Q7s as well because they love to tow, and don’t necessarily need the space but if they need to pick up grandkids and things like that.”


Mr Dale explained, however, that the company will constantly monitor sales data, feedback from customers and dealer input, and that information will help shape what is or isn’t available in the future. 


“If the customer feedback is, for A1, we’ve got too many engines, we (just) need one – we then go to dealers and we say okay, what are you hearing on the shop floor, stocking, ordering, and using that data to inform that plan and that simplification starts to happen naturally based on the progression of what the market is doing,” he said.


That feedback loop has indeed already started to shape some model lines for the brand, with the A8 luxury limousine having been ‘parked’ for the 2024 model year after almost 30 consecutive years in the range.


Audi is pushing towards a heavily electrified product range, with the German maker saying it will, in future, offer a range of ‘even-numbered’ models that will be electric, and ‘odd-numbered’ versions will be ICE offerings.


Audi has sold just 343 examples of the A1 to the end of September 2023 in Australia, paling in comparison to the Mini hatchback range, which has managed 1420 units on the back of record Mini Electric uptake.


There is no electric A1 model offered in any market, and nor is there a hybrid or plug-in hybrid version available internationally.

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