September 2014 Sales: A3 And Q3 Quickly Become Heavy Lifters For Audi USA

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

Audi sales in the United States grew 14%, or 1852 units, in September 2014, the first full month of sales for the Q3, Audi’s new entry-level crossover.

The Q3, along with Audi’s entry-level sedan, the A3, contributed 3425 more sales to the Audi ledger than they did a year ago, when the Q3 didn’t exist in America and the A3 hatchback (seven September 2013 sales) was on its way out.

The maths are simple. Non-A3/Q3 sales at Audi dropped 12% in September, a loss of 1573 units.

This isn’t exactly trouble in paradise. Month after month after month, Audi dealers in the United States are selling more cars. The current streak of year-over-year monthly sales increases dates back to January 2011.

Annually, Audi sales have improved in four consecutive years and will undoubtedly increase in 2014, as well. Through nine months, Audi USA volume is up 14%. Non-A3/Q3 sales are up 1% over the last nine months.

The overall A4 family’s 6% decline this year – and its more severe 21% drop in September – relate to the car’s age and the fact that the A3 sedan is apt to steal sales. Surely A4 volume wouldn’t have tumbled this far had the A3 not developed into an A4-circa-1999. Likewise, while Q5 sales are up 5% this year, the 2% and 1% declines in August and September, respectively, may not have occurred had the Q3 not arrived with its undercutting sticker price.

But there is no doubt that the new entry-level models quickly became key elements in Audi’s U.S. lineup. They generated 23% of Audi USA’s volume in September. Tickling your fancy, Audi also reported that 7.3% of the 2340 A3s sold in September were diesel-powered.

At Mercedes-Benz, the CLA and fresh-off-the-boat GLA were responsible for only 13% of non-Sprinter sales in September. Mercedes-Benz has blessed itself with a broad product range and has been blessed with ready acceptance of their higher-end products.

The S-Class outsold the Audi A8 by nearly four-to-one in September, for example, and the E-Class and CLS-Class (two sedans, one wagon, one coupe, one convertible) outsold the A6 and A7 by nearly three-to-one. Audi’s Q7 has been around in first-gen form for nearly a decade. 1365 were sold in September; 13,105 year-to-date. Mercedes-Benz USA reported 2154 GL sales and another 3460 MLs in September.

Audi has proven to be very successful at bringing the cachet of their established premium products to lower price points. In the United Kingdom, where Audi also markets the A1 range and where the A3 is the eighth-best-selling vehicle so far this year, Audi is the fourth-best-selling auto brand, claiming 6.5% of the market, in excess of BMW’s 5.8% and Mercedes-Benz’s 5.1%.

In the U.S., Audi’s little ones are clearly capable of running with their most direct rivals, as well. 13,806 A3s have been sold since April, a figure which compares favourably with the 12,258 CLA-Class Benzes sold during that period. Mercedes-Benz has outsold Audi by more than 102,000 units already this year; BMW by nearly 106,000.

For BMW and Benz-like volume overall, Audi clearly needs the brand’s more costly products to pick up steam, either encouraging the broadening of those respective product ranges or as a consequence of bolstered lineups. Oh, and new versions of old cars would help, too. A new Q7 is expected to bow in Detroit this winter. We’re at least twelve months away from seeing new A4s in U.S. showrooms.

Timothy Cain
Timothy Cain

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  • Threeer Threeer on Oct 10, 2014

    I love the idea of "base" model 3 series and/or A3...but given how quickly prices escalate for them, it begs the question as to their existence. I am surely in the minority, so a manual trans, cloth interior variant of either one is out of the picture. I really want to like the 320i as I am (was, at least) a huge BMW fan...but it is hard to justify.

  • Tstag Tstag on Oct 10, 2014

    Audi is everywhere in the UK I see far more of them then Mercedes these days. That said I've not seen many Q3s bit then the Evoque seems to be everywhere

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