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Audi progress hindered by dieselgate stop-sale

Fast oiler: Audi’s diesel-powered super-SUV, the SQ7, will arrive in Australia either late this year or early 2017.

Emissions issue has had an impact on Audi sales but more models are on the way

8 Sep 2016

AUDI Australia managing director Andrew Doyle has admitted that the ongoing diesel emissions crisis that has enveloped its Volkswagen Group parent company has hurt sales of the Australian subsidiary.

While Audi sales have grown by seven per cent this year to the end of August, its biggest rivals, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, have recorded volume increases more than double that, with 19.5 and 13.6 per cent lifts respectively.

One of Audi’s longest-serving models, the diesel-powered Q5 was placed under a stop-sale order in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, with allegations that the cars were fitted with illegal software.

“Product lifecycles are a part of it, and for us, we’re an ambitious company, and it’s important for us to have a strong year,” Mr Doyle told GoAuto.

“Clearly there was a stop-sale on some of our models, including Q5, so there was a period of time at the start of the year where that affected our Q5 volume, but now the Euro 6 version is back-selling well.

“That hindered us a little bit, but overall we’re pleased with the performance this year, and more excited about 2017.”

Audi will refresh more than half of its fleet in 2017, with new and refreshed vehicles including the Q2 crossover, second-generation Q5 SUV, TT RS sportscar, A5 Sportback and SQ7 performance SUV.

Mr Doyle said the company was still trying to obtain approval from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (DIRD) for emissions scandal-related repairs to 16,000 Audis, despite telling GoAuto in June that approvals were expected in “the next week or so”.

“The recall itself is still officially awaiting final approval. We’re working literally daily with DIRD on getting that across the line,” he said.

“We expect that imminently again – even though we said that last time we spoke.

We’re ready to go. We have 60 to 70 per cent of our models approved internationally, so it’s a matter now coming to a timing with the department which we’re very close to doing.”

Mr Doyle said repairs would consist of a sub-30 minute software download for 95 per cent of its products, and that affected customers would also receive an additional two years of warranty and roadside assistance on top of their existing packages.

“I think, and I’m proud to say, that our brand has always been very good and efficient at getting through recalls and even though we have quite a number of affected customers, I think we can get through it quite quickly.”

Mr Doyle said that his company hasn’t received “anything” from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in the wake of the watchdog’s Federal Court action against Volkswagen Australia, but would not be drawn on whether there was any disappointment in the ACCC taking action when solutions to the issue were in train.

“Let’s see what happens,” he said. “It’s probably not appropriate for me to comment on that, because it’s not affecting us yet, or directed at us.”

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