Audi keeps upping the ante for competing luxury car makers, posting a stunning run of monthly and annual sales increases in the US market, and taking some bold measures that are uncommon to the industry as premium sales begin to level off in some geographies.
While Audi continues to battle with Mercedes-Benz and BMW for worldwide supremacy in luxury vehicle sales, the Volkswagen-owned brand clearly has become a significant player in the US. Audi posted nearly a 6% increase in August sales over a year earlier, thanks largely to rising demand for its Q5 and Q7 utility vehicles.
Audi continues raising the bar with its new top premium model, Q8, with the dynamic design of one of its coupes, exceptional driving dynamics, and richly equipped with comprehensive connectivity as well as a hybrid motor that complements Q8’s gasoline engine.
At the same time, despite rumblings in the automotive world that the era of the sedan may be coming to an end, Audi continues to roll out one vastly improved sedan model after another and to promote them boldly for luxury consumers who still prefer that vehicle form.
For example, a new two-part series of TV commercials called “Night Watchman” features the Audi A7 and Audi A6 sedans, and kicked off airing during the opening weekend of National Football League play. The ads highlight the advanced technology in putting together and testing the sedans, including a zinc bath for the body and precision stitching for the seats.
Under its “Progress” banner, Audi has continually pressed its technology. Thus the brand also is gearing up to challenge Tesla and its German rivals with a fleet of plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars that will compete vigorously for a premium-EV market that is expected to increase significantly in the next few years.
Audi e-tron, a five-passenger, mid-sized SUV, will be arriving in US showrooms early next year as the first of three battery-electric vehicles that the brand plans to debut by 2020—with nearly 30% of its US customers anticipated to go electric by 2025.
Among other advancements, e-tron will feature an integrated toll-payment technology built into its rearview mirror.
Audi isn’t just bold in rolling out new technology—the brand continually abandons the ordinary and outdated. The latest case in point: Audi announced it no longer will offer any manual transmission vehicles in the US beginning with the 2018 model year. Automatic transmissions have advanced so much that manuals no longer offer a fuel-economy advantage, and fewer Americans know or care to learn how to drive stick shifts, even in the $50,000 vehicles sold by Audi.