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Audi A3 overtakes Benz’s A-Class hero

Boots and all: The A3 Sedan that launched in May this year is as big as the previous A4, which Audi believes is a reason for its success.

The premium small car battleground has a new champion with Audi’s A3

Audi logo29 Sep 2014

By RICHARD BERRY

AUDI’S A3 range is not only the best-selling car for the German car-maker in Australia, it is also outperforming Mercedes-Benz’s star car, the A-Class hatch, and Audi’s local boss loves the competition.

The A-Class five-door hatch was an instant hit when it arrived in Australia in March 2013 as a new-generation car bearing no resemblance to the upright and boxy previous A-Class.

In June this year, however, it was overtaken in the sales charts by Audi’s A3 which repeated the feat in July and again in August with 366 sales compared to the A-Class’s 268.

Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle said he enjoys the healthy rivalry and is pleased with the result of the premium small car.

“We respect our competition, but we love the competition,” he said.

“So, yes we will have a go, but for us it’s an end result. We’re thrilled that so many people are moving toward our A3 and S3.”

Audi has completely revised its A3 range since the arrival of the new Sportback in May 2013 and the S3 variant in July, followed by the first-ever sedan version in January 2014 and then the new cabriolet a month later.

Mr Doyle said the expansion of the range is one of the reasons for the improved sales.

“The extension of the model range offers plenty to choose from at that level.”

Mr Doyle also puts the popularity down to the car’s exterior design – particularly the sedan – as well as the refined cabin and the car’s overall size.

“I think people are also thrilled when they get into the car and they see the quality. I think it’ second to none in the industry,” he said.

“The car just looks good, too. It was an evolutionary design – not revolutionary and it will serve the test of time because the car looks fantastic on the road.

“That A3 sedan is the size of the previous A4, so people are saying, hang on, this is a perfectly good-sized executive saloon. So I think that’s the reason for its success, too.”

The A3 Sportback range starts from $36,500, plus on-road costs, while the entry Sedan is $39,800. Benz’s A-Class line-up also begins at $35,600 and is the company’s third-biggest seller behind the ML-Class large SUV and top-selling C-Class.

Audi, however, is lagging behind its German rivals in year-to-date sales with 12,772 cars sold until the end of August compared with BMW on 14,786 and Benz with 16,726 passenger car and SUV sales.

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