Audi has likely one of the most broad-reaching lineups of the three German luxury brands (Audi, BMW and Mercedes), but it has no plans to go any further down-market from its current entry-level car, the A3, here in the U.S. This report comes from Wards Auto, which was present at the Automotive News World Conference where Audi’s head of global sales and marketing squashed the idea of a sub-A3 model in the U.S.
He did state that the company will continue to grow upward in the U.S., but that the share of first-time luxury car buyers picking up the A3 is a good sign that this is as low as the brand needs to go. According to Audi of America president, Scott Keogh, 75 to 80 percent of A3 buyers are first-time luxury buyers, so I can certainly see the reasoning behind not thinning out the brand any further. On top of so many buyers picking up the A3 as their first luxury rig, the company also includes the A3-based Q3 and the upcoming return of the A3 Sportback.
If Audi wanted to expand below the A3, it wouldn’t be overly difficult, as the brand already has the tiny A1 in Europe. It would simply be a matter of getting it up to U.S. safety and emission standards, and shipping it across the pond. So it is obvious that this is not a decision based upon financial restrictions, but instead a decision based on the current demand of the A3 and not wanting to impact that by bringing in an even cheaper luxury car.
For now, I will take this claim at face value, but keep in mind that the automotive world is constantly changing and Audi’s tune could change in just a few months. If BMW and Mercedes both release subcompact hatches that are insanely successful, you’d better believe that Audi would be quick to ship the A1 into the States to battle its rivals.