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Audi Australia going all-diesel with A8

Oil be there: The popularity of Audi’s efficient, torquey diesel A8 limousines has elbowed out petrol, hybrid and performance options for the range in Australia.

Diesel A8 demand means no S8 or replacement for 4.2-litre petrol V8 for Audi in Oz

8 Feb 2013

THE all-aluminium Audi A8 limousine will soon become a diesel-only proposition in Australia as the phased-out 4.2-litre petrol V8 variant will not be replaced in this market.

Speaking with journalists at an Audi event this week, Audi Australia product manager Jacqueline Walden told journalists that sales of the petrol A8 ebbed away after the 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel variant was introduced in 2011.

For this reason, the naturally aspirated 4.2 V8 that was phased out internationally last year will not be replaced by a de-tuned 309kW/550Nm version of the hot S8’s 382kW/650Nm 4.0-litre turbocharged petrol V8 that is available overseas.

Audi has already backed away from importing the hot S8 and petrol-electric A8 hybrid to Australia, but retains the option of introducing the lower-powered V8 petrol as it received regulatory approval to do so last year.

Ms Walden said the demise of the 4.2-litre petrol A8 had not been formally announced as a handful remain in stock in Australia.

She said just five per cent of Audi’s tiny A8 volume – just 75 were registered in Australia last year – were petrol variants, with diesel sales split at 55 per cent for the 3.0-litre V6 and 45 per cent for the 4.2 V8, with a growing trend toward the more efficient and more affordable V6.

“When the (petrol) 4.2 was discontinued we decided to focus on what we are good at and what works here,” said Ms Walden.

“When we launched the S6 and S7 we focussed on offering those as limited editions so there are no immediate plans for the S8.”

As GoAuto reported in November, Audi has also shied away from introducing the petrol-electric A8 hybrid to Australia after previously stating it was seriously considering the car for this country, again citing the popularity of diesel here.

Ms Walden said take-up of diesel across Audi’s range in Australia has steadily increased in recent years, with 43 per cent of buyers opting for oil-burners in 2012, compared with just one per cent in 2003.

Last year’s A8 volume represented a 40 per cent drop compared with 2011, while the six units registered in the first month of this year are down 50 per cent on the same period in 2012.

BMW sold 138 7 Series limousines last year and Mercedes-Benz sold 99 of its S-Class, while 60 Jaguar XJs were registered and Lexus found just 11 homes for the LS.

So far this year A8 sales match the 7 Series – which has just been facelifted – and the S-Class leads the charge with eight units, while the Jaguar XJ has sold two and not a single Lexus LS has left the showroom, although this is explained by the arrival of a heavily revised model this month.

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