Audi has been the fastest-moving premium brand in recent years, as it has shot up the ranks from a second-tier luxury brand to one that actually give Mercedes and BMW fits. This is all thanks to constant reinvestment of money into the company; in fact, Audi is just coming off of a record investment. Apparently, that record won’t stand for too long, as the four-ringed company is set to drop another €24 billion into growing the brand between 2015 and 2019.
According to the report from Audi, a whopping 70 percent (roughly €16.8 billion) of this investment money will go toward developing new models and technology. The model expansion should help the company reach its goal of growing to a total of 60 models by 2020, which accounts for a 10-model growth over the next half decade, or so. I understand that this sounds like a ton of models for a single manufacturer, but keep in mind that Audi classifies its higher-performance S and RS ranges as separate models from their base A-series siblings. For example, the A7, S7 and RS 7 are classified as three separate models, despite all being based on the same car.
On the technology side of things, the development is two-fold. Of course, the German automaker is continuing to work on the connectivity and the driver aids that buyers are clamoring for, but the company is also working on sustainable technology. A large portion of this investment will go toward creating alternative-energy automobiles, including hydrogen fuel cells and plug-in cars. Two of the models Audi is focusing on are the A3 Sportback e-tron that is due later in 2015 and a production version of the A7 Sportback h-tron quattro. For those who aren’t quite ready to give up on their oil habit, Audi also plans to continue to develop more fuel-efficient diesel- and gasoline-powered cars and SUVs over this period.
Outside of the green technology, Audi is focusing on expanding the C and D segments, and growing its Q family, which will soon include the Q1.
It looks as if we are in for an exciting next five years from Audi, and BMW and Mercedes are likely going to be glancing over Audi’s shoulder to see what it’s working on next.