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‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ says it all

Lone hand: The Audi A3 Sportback 1.9 TDIe will remain the sole 'e' branded Audi in Australia, at least for now.

Audi backs away from eco branding in Australia apart from existing A3 TDIe

28 Jul 2009

AUDI has announced that, for the time being, it will not release ‘e’ eco-branded models in Australia beyond the A3 Sportback 1.9 TDIe that has been on sale since early last year.

This puts the next car in line for ‘e’ branding, the A4 TDIe sedan, in doubt, although it is “still under consideration for Australia”, according to Audi Australia product planning manager Immo Buschmann.

“We are discussing (the ‘e’ strategy) internally at the moment,” he recently explained to GoAuto Media at the TT TDI quattro diesel launch in South Australia.

“And there is no confusion with the issue – we feel that the product we currently offer is adequate and good for the market. It is exactly what the customer is currently looking for.

“If you look at the facts, we currently have 21 models offering less than 7.0 litres per 100 kilometres … so we are not looking currently at launching the sub-brand ‘e’.”

 center imageMr Buschmann indicated that Audi would observe how well the sole A3 Sportback 1.9 TDIe model sold in Australia before committing to other models, but there are other priorities for the brand beyond eco branding.

“We are investigating it, we would like to have it here, we have the 1.9 TDIe (in the A3 Sportback) and that is already tracking well as far as how it is performing.

“And as soon as we see that demand for the ‘e’ strategy allows us to bring in the A4 TDIe, we will have it in the market.

“We are still interested in the technology and we can still make a big story out of that, but we want to concentrate for now with the cars that we currently have in the marketplace.” Audi believes that Australian buyers will respond better to the ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ (Advancement Through Technology) branding that applies to all its models, even though this tag line has been used in its advertising campaigns since the 1980s.

Furthermore, the 21 Audi models returning less than 7.0L/100k are almost 2.5 times the number offered by BMW (eight) and three times as many as Mercedes-Benz (seven).

Vehicles that achieve less than 7.0L/100km are luxury-car-tax exempt in Australia.

“Audi will be introducing TDI (turbo-diesel) technology in every single segment we are operating in,” Mr Buschmann said.

Asked if this would include the on-again/off-again Audi R8 TDI supercar, he quipped: “The R8 TDI is not dead.”

Taking a clear swipe at Toyota’s petrol/electric hybrid models such as the Lexus GS450h, Mr Buschmann said he was confident that Aussie luxury car buyers would adopt Audi’s diesel stance.

“Diesel is the best option for Australia – if you compare it against other options that position themselves as environmental,” he said.

For the first six months of 2009, diesel accounts for 16, 34, 41, 41, 97, 53, 93 and 100 per cent of A3, A4, A5, A6, A8, Q5, Q7 and A6 Allroad sales respectively, while about one in five TT buyers is expected to choose the new TDI quattro model.

“At the moment everybody is talking about things like ‘efficient dynamics’ because it is the sign of the times,” Mr Buschmann believes.

“But we go to great lengths to offer the best product … for design, performance and the environment.

“So whatever the car, we have we try our best to make it the most economical car. So we don’t (have to) give the customer the option of having to pay more to choose the most economical model.

“If we give something a name it will always be Vorsprung Durch Technik because everything about Audi is Vorsprung Durch Technik, and it applies to everything that is in the car, as well as the way that we think and the way that we do things.”

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