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Audi casts a wide net for A3 sedan buyers

On the offensive: With its impressive fuel efficiency and Euro styling, Audi's new A3 sedan is going after non-premium brands as well as the competition from Mercedes and BMW.

Brands outside prestige market – even Holden – a target for Audi with new A3 sedan

Audi logo24 Jan 2014

By DANIEL GARDNER

AUDI Australia managing director Andrew Doyle predicts the sub-$40,000 starting price of its new A3 sedan will help it poach buyers from mainstream, non-premium brands as well as its German rivals.

Arriving this week, the three-box rival for the $10,000 more expensive Mercedes-Benz CLA is projected to give Audi an appreciable bump in A3 volumes, and Mr Doyle says the company is gearing up for conquest.

“While I hope to conquest a lot of sales from our direct competitors, I think the big opportunity for us is a whole array of other owners that are driving a Holden and a raft of other brands that don’t expect to get an Audi executive saloon for under 40 grand,” he said at this week's media launch.

“That’s what I’m excited about." Mr Doyle said he was confident style-conscious buyers were becoming increasingly prepared to stump up a little extra cash to get into an Audi, bringing less expensive models in to the firing line. This mirrors a trend evident in Europe.

“The early indication from Europe is that there is a lot of interest outside of existing Audi customers for this car,” he said.

At $39,800 plus on-road costs, the entry A3 is still around $10,000 more expensive than top-spec small-car sedan offerings from mainstream brands such as the Ford Focus Titanium ($32,990), Holden Cruze CDX ($28,190) and Mazda3 SP25 ($31,490).

It could also be considered a rival for similarly priced but larger mainstream offerings such as the Holden Commodore and Mazda6 – both of which consume appreciably more fuel than the A3 1.4 petrol, which uses just 4.7 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.

Last year saw big sales growth for the A3 hatch in Australia, and other premium small cars such as the BMW 1 Series. The addition of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and CLA, Volvo V40 and big price cuts to the Alfa Romeo Giuletta resulted in a 61.6 per cent in-crease in the number of premium compact cars sold here year-on-year.

“In Australia this year we are working towards our tenth consecutive year of growth, and there’s no doubt models like the A3 sedan will support this target for us,” said Mr Doyle.

Audi sales grew 10.1 per cent last year, a strong result but still short of the rate of growth of BMW (11.5 per cent) and Mercedes-Benz (23.0 per cent).

With 60 models planned by 2020 and significant investment worldwide, the brand intends to flip this equation, and up its relative growth rate.

“To continue our growth, Audi AG has just announced it will invest some $30 billion worldwide into new products, sustainable technology and production facilities between now and 2018. About 70 per cent of that is destined for new models and inno-vations,” said Mr Doyle.

“By 2020 our company aims to be the number one premium brand worldwide, selling around two million a year.”

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