By on May 23, 2019

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.”

audi a8 2019

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]

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13 Comments on “TT Is Toast: Audi’s Smallest Model Has a Date With Death As Automaker Sheds ‘Old Baggage’...”

  • avatar

    “combustion cars are getting more expensive in the medium-term, and electric cars are getting cheaper.”

    Except the ATPs of course.

  • avatar

    Kind of a dramatic headline for what’s a pretty ordinary product life cycle decision.
    – The current gen’s been around since 2014, so it’s coming due to be retired anyway.
    – It’s not selling particularly well, which is expected for niche vehicle once initial demand has been satisfied.
    – The “emotive” car will fill the lineup spot at some point when Audi perceives sufficient demand.

    I have liked the TT as a styling exercise. It’s one of those “wouldn’t own it but glad it exists” cars. My then-boss had a first-gen, and I have to confess I didn’t like riding in it that much. The roof had kind of a hooded effect, so I felt like it was creeping down onto the windshield and into your line of sight – the price of style, I guess. Maybe it was something you got used to if it was your regular ride.

    • 0 avatar

      I sort of freaked out the day after I bought my TT when I realized how bad the upward visibility was, but I sort of got used to it, and was able to use the car as my daily driver for a decade. On the plus side, it made for a good sun visor, but on the down side, one could not see overhead traffic lights.

      • 0 avatar

        I was so prepared to love the TT when it came out- because I’m about the only person in the US who gladly drove its inspiration, the NSU 1000 TT, as a daily driver for almost a decade. The “TT” emblem on the back of the Audi was exactly the same! When I sat in one, though, I immediately knew it wasn’t a car for me. “This is the tightest helmet I’ve ever worn,” I thought to myself. It was the anti-Golf, with an interior that felt far smaller than the exterior.

        These days I drive a Ford C-Max, which might be called the anti-TT. The windshield is as vast as the headroom, and I can stretch my arm fully upright sitting in the seat. I usually have the visors down and often wish they were twice as big. I wear a hat to block the sun. But the view I get driving down a canyon is unequalled!

  • avatar
    R Henry

    This maniacal obsession with electrification will cost these companies A LOT of money. Battery production is hampered by raw materials supply issues, BEV range anxiety validly persists, and inadequacy of electrical generation and distribution all remain major obstacles to BEV adoption.

    California has not issued a building permit for a new electricity generating station since 1972! Environmentalists protest ever proposal.

    A8s as electric only? Great idea…if you want to cut your market by two thirds!

    ICEs will remain the primary source of motive power for our lifetimes. Learn it, love it, live it!

    • 0 avatar

      “California has not issued a building permit for a new electricity generating station since 1972! ”

      Not true. Looks like there have been plenty that are now operational:

      “BEV range anxiety validly persists”

      Not true. With 300+ mile range there are no range anxiety issues. There are gas cars with that range. Plenty of quick charge stations and level 2 charger where I live if I needed a charge. More chargers than gas stations. Shell just bought an EV charging network and Chevron is going to be installing EVGO chargers. So, for many parts of the US, range anxiety isn’t an issue.

      So get ready for range anxiety for your ICE car. It’s coming.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        The list you provide is not of new facility projects–all recertification and/or refits or existing plants.

        Range Anxiety? Tonight I am driving to visit my father 400 miles way. I would have lots of range anxiety.

      • 0 avatar

        Your idea of ICE “range anxiety” is bizarre because people driving ICE vehicles in 2019 will be able to buy EVs in the future if they manage to dominate all infrastructure the way you’re expecting. Gas stations aren’t going to disappear unless EVs have a sizeable market share.

  • avatar

    Peter DeLorenzo has a great “Rant” over at The Autoextremist this week related to this, and the German luxury automakers in general. It’s not just a life cycle decision, but the automakers’ realization that model proliferation has gotten out of hand, with Audi adding numerous Q crossovers and SUVs, BMW’s horrific “GT” models, and adding X models out the wazoo, and Daimler-Benz chasing every possible niche. With the companies having to launch BEVs and AVs, they can’t continue to produce so many models. Read it all.


    • 0 avatar

      Agree. When the TT came out, I thought Audi had the right mix.
      – A4 for the practical small sedan, A4 Avant to satisfy the needs for an urban pickup truck and appeal to antiminivan soccermoms.
      – A6 for the office-with-a-window junior exec or plant manager.
      – A8 for the corner office guy and the doctor/lawyer crowd.
      – TT for the image, the young, the hip. Draw them into the dealership even if they buy a practical Ax….at least it’s an Audi.

      Each in a stick and a tip (or auto) version. 10 cars altogether.

      Adding the S4 was a valient attempt to capture the greaseball 30 year old men who were besotted with 3-series BMWs, build brand loyalty so that hopefully they’ll eventually buy an A6 or A8. Now we’re up to 12.

      In my opinion, the mistakes were twofold:
      1. Expanding beyond this range
      2. Not bringing the Porsche-re-engineered RS4 as a halo car

      Now they’re just another producer of high-end cookiecutter road turds.

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      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.

  • avatar

    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!

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