TT Is Toast: Audi's Smallest Model Has a Date With Death As Automaker Sheds 'Old Baggage'

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

It’s the end of an era. Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz announced the death of the SLC (formerly SLK) roadster, and today Audi announced it will do the same to its own two-seat roadster and four-place coupe.

The TT first appeared in late 1998, bringing youthful excitement and distinctive design to the brand’s sedan-heavy lineup. It also served as an excellent rival to the SLK, which bowed a couple of years earlier. Thanks to dwindling sales and Audi’s push for electrification, the recently refreshed TT is now doomed.

It’s not the only gas-powered model that could disappear from the lineup, either.

At the automaker’s annual shareholders meeting in Germany Thursday, top brass spoke of the need to ditch niche models while bolstering electric offerings. Audi hopes to have 20 all-electric models on the market by 2025. Indeed, the TT’s replacement, not due for a few years, will be such a creature.

In the medium term we want to have the strongest range of electric models among premium competitors,” said CEO Bram Schot, as reported by Automotive News. Schot said that, given the brand’s push for sustainability, keeping the TT around makes no economic sense. Its replacement will be an “emotive” model with a similar price, he added.

“We’re shedding old baggage,” said Chief Financial Officer Alexander Seitz, per Bloomberg. The CFO said that ever more stringent emissions regulations means that “combustion cars are getting more expensive in the medium-term, and electric cars are getting cheaper.”

Since the beginning of the year, Audi’s global deliveries have fallen nearly 6 percent. Paring back slow-selling models and rethinking others will be the go-to plan going forward.

“There will be lots of things that we won’t do any more in the future, or things that we do less,” said Schot. “We focus maximum resources on our key projects.”

He added that the brand’s flagship sedan, the redesigned-for-2019 A8, might be in its last generation as an internal combustion vehicle.

“The next generation of the Audi A8 might well be all-electric. Nothing has been decided yet, but I can well imagine it,” he said, hinting that the sedan’s replacement might be a “completely new concept.”

Also up for reconsideration is the brand’s high-end R8 sports car. Schot questioned whether the R8 fits into the brand’s current strategy. Refreshed for 2020 (after skipping the 2019 model year), the R8 is Audi’s halo car, offering two flavors of V10 engine for an eye-watering price.

Audi’s aiming for higher delivery volume this year and boosted profit margins in 2020, while at the same time making costly investments in electrification. Seitz claims the push for lower-margin EVs is not a fool’s game.

“CO2 credits are hard cash in today’s world,” he said. “As finance chief, I am already looking forward to every electric car sold, even if their profitability cannot yet achieve that of conventional vehicles.”

In both 2000 and 2001, Audi sold over 12,000 TTs in the United States, but the model hasn’t crested the 5,000 mark since 2004. Last year’s TT tally, including the five-cylinder RS variant, was just 1,289 units.

[Images: Audi]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Stingray65 Stingray65 on May 23, 2019

    Lets cancel our low volume ICE vehicles that perhaps manage to breakeven, and replace them with lower volume EVs that lose money and only sell due to subsidies that Right wing governments are threatening to end. Good strategy.

    • Mopar4wd Mopar4wd on May 24, 2019

      To be fair it's a better decision then killing your volume profit models to experiment with future markets. A shame because the TT is the only audi I currently like but I wouldn't buy a new one so my opinion really doesn't matter.

  • SilverCoupe SilverCoupe on May 24, 2019

    I owned a Scirocco in the late 70's, and they stopped making it shortly thereafter. I owned a Chrysler Laser Turbo in the 80's, and they stopped making it shortly thereafter. I Owned a Supra Turbo in the 90's, and the stopped making it shortly thereafter. I owned a TT in the 00's - and it took them quite a while to stop making that! But who knows what the future will bring; heck, the Supra came back!

  • Tassos Jong-iL The Peninsula of One Korea.
  • Eric No, I just share my opinions. I have no use nor time for rhetoric from any side.
  • Redapple2 Jeez. This is simple. I 75 and 696 area. 1 nobody -NOBODY wants to work in downtown Detritus. 2 close to the tech ctr. Design and Engineering HQ. 20 miles closer to Milford.3 lower taxes for the employees. Lower taxes for Evil GM Vampire.4 2 major expressways give users more options to suburbs. Faster transport.Jeez.
  • Clark The Ring (Nürburgring) is the only race track I've driven on. That was 1985 or 1986 with my '73 Fiat Spider (and my not-so-happy girlfriend). So I made the Karussell (today: Caracciola Karussell, which I believe the author meant; there is another one: Kleines Karussell).
  • AZFelix This article takes me back to racing electric slot cars with friends on tracks laid out in the basement. Periodically your car would stop due to lost connections or from flying off the track and you would have to dash over to it and set it right. In the mean time your competitor would race ahead until faced with a similar problem. It seemed like you were struggling harder to keep from losing than trying to win. Fun times.“History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.” Mark Twain
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