Pesky Arrest Issue Has Audi Thinking America for New Car Launch

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Jun 26, 2018

    Are they gonna check to make sure that anyone they send over doesn't have any outstanding warrants in the US? :-)

    • Brettc Brettc on Jun 26, 2018

      They should round up Martin Winterkorn from whatever Caribbean island he's hiding out on and send him over for funsies.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jun 26, 2018

    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.

  • MaintenanceCosts Yawn. I just can't get excited about a redblock that doesn't have either a turbo or extra cylinders. Given the base trim and overall good condition, though, this one would be a killer sleeper with a V8 swap. You could even find some wide steelies that would fit the OEM wheel covers.
  • The Oracle The early sounds of the death knell for CCP EVs.
  • FreedMike "This week, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) "Oh, THAT clown. The Undistinguished Gentleman and Brave Christian Culture Warrior from North Arkansas - I mean, Missouri - who was caught pulling a Brave Sir Robin act on January 6th, after he egged on the rioters? This guy shouldn't be running for dog catcher, must less consuming oxygen in the Senate chamber. Assess his proposals accordingly.
  • EBFlex Yawn. It’s still a white refrigerator. A Camry has more soul and passion than this.
  • Jkross22 For as nice as these were at the time, I always preferred the 850, even with wrong wheel drive. Especially the early 90s. In sedan form. The 850R. Mmmmm.
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