By on November 14, 2012

Being the bearer of bad news isn’t always fun, but sometimes its necessary. Despite sending Audi fanboys into a frenzy with photographs of a real, live RS4 Avant, the likelihood of this car being imported is next to zero. Hit the jump for more pontificating from your favorite enfant terrible know-it-all wagon hater.

Rather than trot out arcane explanations of certification costs, CAFE, market positioning and the like, here’s the strongest argument for why Audi has no intention of bringing this car over. Car companies regularly bring in single examples of vehicles they sell elsewhere. They do it to let executives get a taste of product sold elsewhere, if not for the sheer novelty of having something weird. Honda Canada used to have a yellow Beat kicking around their offices – it was never going to be sold here, but boy was it popular when it came time to sign out cars for the weekend.

Don’t believe Volkswagen does that? He’s a VW employee explaining the process, while simultaneously quashing any hope of the car coming here despite numerous posters insisting that Audi officials “hinted” that the RS4 was “greenlit” for American consumption.

“I did a double take when I saw the RS4 in our garage. Honestly, I wouldn’t look too far into it. There’s been all kinds of stuff here like the Polo, Scirocco, A1, etc. that didn’t have a chance of being sold in the U.S. I know it’s blasphemy, but a QS5 would likely sell in much higher numbers than a RS4 Avant. Wouldn’t be that much slower either.”

Ok, I know what you’re thinking; Mercedes-Benz sells the E63 wagon and Cadillac sells the CTS-V. And look at all those people on Vortex insisting that they too will buy one if only Audi would bring it here.

Cadillac only needed to sell 5 CTS-V wagons to break even on the whole endeavor, so the project was naturally greenlit. As far as the E63 goes, we can consider it a marketing exercise and nothing more. Mercedes keeps a brown E63 wagon in the press fleet for the exact same reason that Audi’s RS4 mule has a giant sticker on the rear window proclaiming “You just got beat by a wagon”. It’s a great way to curry favor with car geeks and generate “buzz” for free. Many S4 Avants were bought by men looking to placate their demands of their spouses for a luxurious but practical family car. At the time, Audi’s crossover range wasn’t really available yet and the Avants were the sole option. An S4 could be passed off as the “most expensive” version (a must-have for status hungry affluent types) with the husbands not cracking on about the car’s performance chops.

Now that the Real Housewives of Suburbistan have moved on to the Q7 (god forbid they should have to drive a Q5) Avant sales have dried up to the point where the half the lineup has been axed in favor of the Allroad. Then again, you never know who buys these things…

 

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28 Comments on “Audi Brings RS4 Avant Over For Evaluation, “Hand Raisers” Demand Importation...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Really wonder how the auto landscape would look if internet auto execs were given free reign…

  • avatar
    BrianL

    I can’t wait for thousands to be asking for it…
    And for sales to be 20.

    Honestly, it is cool, but take the CTS Wagon. I believe they have to be special ordered because no dealer wants it to sit on the lot for months.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      There is no better automotive marketplace to be in right now than the US. Any European that cares about cars is green with envy that we can choose between a Miata, Genesis Coupe, Mustang or FR-S, all for under $25K. I don’t know what kind of basement dwelling sunlight depravation is making people sad about an uber priced compact wagon that will not hold together beyond a 36 month lease.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      I’d love to buy it, but all I can afford is $30,000.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Our Cadillac dealer usually has one V wagon as well as a couple sedans or coupes. They usually don’t stay on the lot that long.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      Even if I could get over the overwrought styling, the backseat of the CTS-V wagon appears to be practically useless. I cant say that I would buy it, but I would love the option of getting an RS4 Avant in the US (along with the rest of the internet).

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    This sports wagon thing is much more European. There an upper middle class family may own one car. In the US an enthusiast does not need to own a sports wagon, he or she can use his or her spouse’s SUV when necessary. “I have to go buy some stuff that will not fit in the Cayman/Corvette, I’m going to take the Q7/Yukon.”

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      Obvious as it is, I don’t think I have seen that point made in the “Americans hate wagons” threads.

      And it’s a good point.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Very good point, I agree. For the price of one mediocre car in Europe, I can have a sports car, cute ute, 2 wheel 60 MPG commuter and hypersport track/canyon slayer (all used of course). Why anyone would trade all that for an Audi 2.0TDI avant (not even quattro) I don’t know.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        And for that price in Europe you could have all of those things too – used cars are typically CHEAPER in Europe than they are here – you would be amazed what you can get for your money used in the UK in particular.

        Ultimately, as has been pointed out here many, many times, you cannot take the price in Euros, convert it to dollars and compare. Europeans don’t get paid in dollars. They get paid in Euros, or Pounds, or Krona or whatever, and the dollar has been in the toilet for a long time. and quite well as a general rule. Pretty much if you can afford an Audi RS here, you could afford one in Europe too if you had the same job. Certainly the case with my European colleagues in the IT field. While we certainly are a little spoiled in that we usually get more stuff standard that the Europeans get to pay extra for, it is not like we get a 3-series BMW for the price of a Golf. We get a slightly more loaded BMW for the price of a less loaded BMW, but get screwed in that we don’t get anything like the level of choice.

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    “Now that the Real Housewives of Suburbistan have moved on to the Q7 (god forbid they should have to drive a Q5)”

    I see Q5s all the time now. The Q7 is far more rare. It seems like a lot of those Real Housewives don’t need the 3rd row.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Something does not add up about the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon story. The reason always trotted out for not bringing variations of existing cars to the US is the cost of certifying them. And yet, supposedly Cadillac only had to sell *5* CTS-V wagons to cover the costs? They are just not THAT expensive, so there cannot be THAT much profit in them. So either Cadillac got a pass, or the cost is not nearly as high as advertised.

    Personally, I simply refuse to compromise. A wagon can do everything a sedan can do, but a sedan cannot do many of the things a wagon can do. Even the very best SUVs CANNOT ride and handle as well or be as fuel efficient as well as either, the laws of physics say it must be so. I want a sporting wagon, preferably with a manual transmission. Thus, BMW got my money, and Audi did not get a look in. Had BMW still imported the 5-series wagon, they might have gotten even more of my money, but the 3-series is just big enough. I actually HAVE a beater SUV just for hauling and I still refuse to drive sedans.

    Ultimately fashion is cyclical. We are already seeing CUVs becoming more like station wagons with each new itteration, helped on by rising fuel costs.

  • avatar
    B.C.

    Speaking of desirable wagons:
    http://www.topgear.com/uk/ford/focus-st/road-test/estate

    Focus ST wagon. Would I? NNnrnrrrggghhhhhhhhh ………… must … resist …

  • avatar

    It probably can’t survive the harsh heat of a stateside summer, what with all of that turbocharging. If I recall, that was VW’s excuse for not bringing us the Scirocco…

  • avatar
    Sensual Lettuce

    I shall call him Blitzwagen, and he shall be mine and he shall be my Blitzwagen. Come on, Blitzwagen. Come on, little Blitzwagen.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    My old boss had an Audi RS wagon with a V8 and it was a beast. Meeting him at 5 in the morning for a trip out of town and wanting to get out of the car after the road trip caused me to pay little attention to the exact model. If this Audi is an updated version, I’d buy one.

  • avatar

    OK, here’s the real reason we don’t get the limited production wagons, etc…

    Each manufacturer must crash the model in question, so they have to do the crash tests, and EPA certification. This is very expensive. If you are selling, say a BMW 3, then the sedan and coupe are “no brainers”. The Wagon is less so. They don’t sell many, so we get a “least objectionable model”, in our case, the 328. No 335, no M series, because they figure you won’t sell enough to make the crash testing worth it.

    My observations “ova there” are that the typical American has a better car than the typical euro. No, we don’t get the RS4 Wagon, or a lot of other high end bits, but the normal person in the US has a more comfortable car than the typical euro.

    This is foible of US law. Each powertrain/body must be crash tested, so while we don’t see much difference between, say a 328i and a 335i, the DOT does, and you’d have to crash test both models to sell them here.

    Sorry. This rule also kept Bill Gates from a 959, Back in the Day.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      This is my understanding as well. HOWEVER, going back to the Cadillac CTS-V wagon, Cadillac is widely quoted as saying they only needed to sell *5* of them to make a profit on the bother of doing it. So how can that be? The CTS-V wagon is AT LEAST as closely related to the regular CTS wagon as the A4 Avant is to the All-Road or the All-Road to the RS4.

      Whether Europeans or Americans get better cars is entirely up to what you look for in a car, and the driving conditions where you live. I have as much use for a softly sprung land barge as I do for a sixth finger.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    You know, we had a great wagon here, for about five years.

    It could be obtained in both RWD and AWD versions, and if you got the intermediate or top-of-the-line engines, they drove great.

    It was called the Dodge Magnum.

    Nobody cared…

    • 0 avatar
      Redhead

      I’m the one they’re talking about when it comes to having no desire to own
      a wagon; however, I can appreciate the need. But I have to agree about the Magnum. When it comes to wagons, it was great! I must give the CTS-V props too. Yet there was the 55-AMG-Darth Vader like Mercedes…but who could afford it?

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    ” a QS5 would likely sell in much higher numbers than a RS4 Avant. Wouldn’t be that much slower either.”

    This VW guy speaks the truth, despite what all the fanbois might say they want.

    Heck, *I* might buy a QS5 if they brought it here!

  • avatar
    1000songs

    Jack’s “Audi Goes the Extra Mile” rant referenced at the bottom (http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/audi-goes-the-extra-mile-to-help-a-man-with-low-self-esteem-win-the-internet/) is pure gold. Not sure how I missed that one when first surfaced.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    Not sure if the USA’s wagon market is big enough to absorb another vehicle, but if V8 Caddie wagons are selling well, perhaps it makes sense for Audi to throw its RS4 in the ring. Avants are already back ordered by 1 – 3 months up here.

    Then again, our high curbs, potholes and other NW road oddities will devour any low slung, lo-profile tired RS4’s Audi cares to send our way.

  • avatar
    DrunkenDonuts

    Been lurking here a long time, but this is my first post.

    As someone who can only afford a single car, I’d much rather have a wagon than the CUVs flooding the market. Why in the world would I want a tall, heavy car with a small engine but drives like an SUV? No thanks. I currently have an ’05 Mazda 6 5-door, which has been more than enough to haul a few people, grill, food, chairs, etc to go camping or tailgating for football games, and it’s very fun to drive. However, unlike the rest of the internet it seems, I would never own a brown car (or gold, God forbid) and I’m not obsessed with manuals.


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