These problems will ease this year. But Audi still will lack a new top model to catch up with the competition in China, and also in Europe and the U.S.
The e-tron full-electric model, launched in 2019, has been upgraded and renamed the Q8 e-tron. It will arrive in European dealerships at the end of February. The U.S. market launch will be at the end of April.
The long-awaited Q6 e-tron is expected to be unveiled in the autumn. It is Audi’s first SUV on the new PPE electric platform developed with Porsche and the brand’s most important all-electric model launch this year. It’s also Duesmann’s first new full-electric car after three and a half years as Audi CEO.
A new A4 compact model could still come in 2023, and the A6, important as a business fleet car, is getting a face-lift. However, the A6’s full-electric version will not be available until 2024, while BMW will be able to offer its customers the i5 and i5 station wagon as early as this summer.
The mood among Audi’s dealers is bad. The new models are not coming fast enough for them.
And Audi’s competitors are making fun of the brand’s slick TV commercials for futuristic studies such as the Grandsphere. Their executives say: “We prefer to advertise cars on TV that you can buy.”
On Jan. 26, Audi will unveil its fourth Sphere concept called Activesphere. This is yet another vision whose realization is a long way off.
Audi’s sales are likely to drop this year because of its aging lineup. Its global deliveries fell 3.9 percent to 1.61 million last year on prolonged supply bottlenecks and major challenges in the logistics chain, the brand said in a press release on Tuesday.
The chips crunch is likely to ease this year but it will still be a problem. The lull in model launches will also lead to underutilization of Audi’s plants.
Audi’s problems and its high number of former BMW executives in top posts mean that Audi is being called “BMW North” by dissatisfied members of VW Group’s leadership in Wolfsburg, according to Spiegel magazine.
Audi’s Ingolstadt headquarters in Bavaria, Germany, is just 85 km north of BMW’s Munich base. Duesmann, sales chief Hildegard Wortmann and marketing boss Henrik Wenders are all former BMW executives.