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Audi expands investment program to $36 billion

Coming soon: The A3 Sportback e-tron arrives in March 2015 and will be one of the first new cars in Audi’s plan to add another 10 models to its line-up by 2020.

New super-efficient powertrains and 10 additional models in Audi's 2020 vsion

Audi logo31 Dec 2014

By RICHARD BERRY

AUDI has announced it will expand the biggest investment program in its history to a record €24 billion ($A36 billion) in a plan that includes increasing its range from 50 to 60 models by 2020.

In 2013 the German car-maker announced it was embarking on a €22 billion program to chase an extra 500,000 sales a year. Now, another €2 billion has been added to spending spree.

Audi chief financial officer Axel Strotbek said the majority of the funds would be channeled into expanding the model line-up.

“Seventy per cent of all our investment in the next five years will flow into new models and innovative technologies,” he said.

“Despite the growth in total investment, we will keep a watchful eye on the upcoming challenges and exercise the required cost discipline.” Audi’s goal is to expand its line-up to 60 models by 2020. A focus will be on producing the next generation of fuel-efficient petrol and diesel cars, as well as plug-in hybrids such as the A3 Sportback e-tron which will go on sale in Australia in March 2015.

Due in 2016 is the Q1 baby SUV which will be built on the same platform as Volkswagen’s upcoming Taigun and powered by the Audi A1’s engines.

At the Los Angeles motor show this year Audi displayed its A7 Sportback h-tron quattro concept revealing the advances it has made with hydrogen fuel cell technology. Audi said the car is ready to move onto the series-production stage as soon as the infrastructure and market is ready.

Also making its debut in Los Angeles was the Prologue concept which hinted at a future sporty flagship model to take on Mercedes-Benz’s CLS.

Audi chief technical officer Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg said that while developing drivetrains is always a priority, the car-maker considers connectivity to be increasingly important.

“We are constantly developing alternative drive systems and focusing above all on connecting the car with its digital environment,” he said.

“The car will communicate with the driver, the internet, the infrastructure and other vehicles, while moving in an environmentally friendly manner.” In 2015 Audi is set to launch a number of updated models. Coming in February is the third-generation TT Coupe, while April will see a revised version of the A6 sedan and A7 Sportback, with hardcore RS6 and RS7 variants to follow in May. The new A1 Sportback is also expected to launch in May, while the Q3 and sporty RS Q3 should land by the middle of the year along with the TT Roadster and TTS. By the end of 2015 the much-anticipated RS3 will go on sale followed by the all-new Q7 large SUV.

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