Audi to add more vehicles in US lineup as bid to beat Daimler, BMW

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 6, 2012

In an attempt to outperform luxury market leaders BMW AG and Daimler AG, Audi intends to add vehicle models in the U.S. The automaker's CEO Rupert Stadler said that they are seeing opportunities in the sedan and SUV market. He revealed that in next week's Detroit auto show, Audi will launch a concept "Vail" version of the compact Q3 SUV for the U.S. market. The automaker also intends to manufacture a sedan variant of the A3 hatchback after the latest model comes to the market this year.

The growth in the U.S. is crucial to Audi's attempts to outperform BMW as the biggest luxury automaker in the world by 2015. Last year, Audi overtook Daimler's Mercedes-Benz. That year, Audi delivered around 80,000 more automobiles across the world versus Mercedes' 1.26 million units.

However, Mercedes and BMW currently sell more than twice as many vehicles as Audi in the U.S. market.In addition, Audi intends to revive the A2 compact vehicle, a model it dropped several years ago, Stadler said. The automaker will start producing vehicles in North America by 2015, manufacturing 150,000 units as a first step, he added.

In the U.S., Mercedes and BMW are already manufacturing SUVs. Stadler disclosed that he will study assembling sedans or SUVs in the region. Local production would provide the automaker a natural hedge that ranges from $2 billion to $2.5 billion. Stadler also said that the automaker is currently profitable in the U.S. after years of losses.

The rivalry among the top three brands has heated up. The growth of Audi has prompted Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche to set a goal of taking back the number one spot that it lost to BMW in 2005. 

Audi has long wanted to be part of the compact sedan segment as this is considered as of the largest market segments in the world. The company will be able to do this in the spring of 2013 as it plans to officially launch the A3 Sedan. By implementing a lightweight design, the A3 Sedan benefits from being lighter while still boasting highly-efficient and powerful engines, giving the S3 Sedan, the range’s top model, an output of 300 hp (221 kW).

Inside, various driver assistance systems have been fitted in as well together with different high-end infotainment solutions. Overall, the four-door A3 Sedan has in it all of the advantages listed in the A3 product line. Overall length of the A3 Sedan is 14.62 ft. (4.46 m) and even with overhangs made short, wheelbase is measured at 8.66 ft. (2.64 m).

Width meanwhile is 5.91 ft. (1.80 m), which means it is wider by 0.43 in. (11 mm) when compared to the A3 Sportback. It is however lower than the A3 Sportback with total height of 4.66 ft. (1.42 m), a difference of 0.35 in. (9 mm). The best description of its design is that it is a mix of the coupe philosophy with that of the classic three-box concept.

While the A3 Sedan does have an athletic stance, one is likely to see the precision used in all of its details. The design element called as tornado line for example results in a unique light-refracting edge that goes through the whole side. At the rear section, a spoiler is installed on its trunk lid.

The lights at this section help highlight the horizontal lines, especially with the low and wide cuts. It should be noted that LED is offered as a possible option. Meanwhile on the side, the top of the side sills shows a dynamic line.

While this is the same as in the two other A3 models, the one in the A3 Sedan goes up more sharply. The side surfaces are now more curved with its wheel arches being more flared. During the launch, the company will also be making available headlights that exclusively use LED. When advanced technology is combined with the unique look, the A3 Sedan’s excellent positioning is emphasized.

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