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…