Pesky Arrest Issue Has Audi Thinking America for New Car Launch
Audi had hoped to unveil a new challenger to Tesla’s electric throne at a Brussels marketing event, but the ill-timed arrest of its former CEO forced the automaker to shelve those plans. Rupert Stadler remains in custody, casting a dark cloud over the brand and the vehicle its engineers spent years developing.
What to do? Apparently, the solution involves bundling the car into a plane and sending it to America.
Audi was expecting to debut its 2019 E-Tron crossover — a conventionally-styled electric vehicle designed to woo premium-minded, ecologically sensitive family types — on August 30th. As the vehicle’s assembly plant is in Brussels, it was only natural to hold the splashy reveal there, too.
According to Automotive News Europe, invitations had already been mailed out by the time German authorities slapped the cuffs on Stadler, who’s being held in Munich on suspicion of fraud and evidence tampering.
Now, Audi claims it will unveil the vehicle, the first of a line of E-Tron-branded electric vehicles, at a “summit” in the United States. The automaker cited “organizational reasons” for the kiboshed reveal, providing no date or location.
As it collects advance orders in several European markets, Audi says the vehicle’s market launch hasn’t been impacted by the deferred debut. “The e-tron will have its market launch at the end of the year,” an Audi spokesperson told Automotive News Europe. “Nothing has changed.”
The two-row E-Tron is said to travel up to 250 miles on the juice contained within its 95 kWh battery pack. A prototype debuted in Geneva earlier this year. Following the 2019 E-Tron’s introduction, Sportback and GT variants will appear over the next two years, giving the likes of Tesla and Mercedes-Benz a worthy competitor in the fledgling premium EV crossover field.
[Images: Audi AG]
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- Kat Laneaux What's the benefits of this as opposed to the Ford or Nissan. Will the mileage be better than the 19 city, 24 hwy? Will it cost less than the average of $60,000? Will it be a hybrid?
- Johnster Minor quibble. The down-sized full-sized 1980-only Continental (which was available with Town Car and Town Coupe trims) gave up its name in 1981 and became the Town Car. The name "Town Coupe" was never used after the 1980 model year. The 1981 Lincoln Town Car was available with a 2-door body style, but the 2-door Lincoln Town Car was discontinued and not offered for the 1982 model year and never returned to the Lincoln lineup.
- Zipper69 Some discreet dwebadging and this will pass for a $95k Lucid Air...
- Zipper69 Does it REALLY have to be a four door?Surely a truly compact vehicle could stick with the half-door access with jump seats for short term passengers.
- ToolGuy See kids, you can keep your old car in good condition.
Are they gonna check to make sure that anyone they send over doesn't have any outstanding warrants in the US? :-)
It reminds me wave of "iPhone killers" from reputable traditional companies popping up every week in the end of 2000s. I personally worked on some of them from Moto, Toshiba, Sharp and LG. All based on Android OS. iPhone is still alive and doing well.