Hey, Wait Up: Audi Crafts Realignment Plan After German Rivals Spring Ahead

Audi’s global sales fell 3.5 percent in 2018, placing the Volkswagen Group brand further behind in its bid to challenge the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW. As its revenue dipped, so too did the brand’s operating margin.

Mistakes were made, the automaker claims.

As it gears up to present a strategic realignment plan on May 23rd, Audi’s echoing Ford in claiming 2019 will be a “transition” year.

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Audi Uses Witchcraft to Tease Possibility of Wagons in the West

Late last week, Audi took to social media to tease the possibility of Avant models returning to the United States. Bizarrely, the company adopted the summoning circle meme utilized by young adults as a way to humorously express their deepest desires. While half-heartedly pretending to be a member of the occult online isn’t a new or particularly clever meme, the summoning circle gag has grown in popularity over the past month.

Audi can be forgiven for jumping on the bandwagon, especially if it actually plans on bringing long-roof variants back into the United States. Frankly, we wouldn’t care if the company was practicing legitimate witchcraft if it guaranteed us access to more wagons.

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Casting a Wider Net: Audi's EV Push Won't Ignore the Entry-level Crowd

Audi plans to make a green new deal with premium-minded buyers of limited means. With the brand’s Volkswagen Group parent going all-in on electric vehicles, Audi has access to whatever it needs from mama’s parts bin. This will come in handy.

It seems a cheaper, smaller EV is Audi’s next big reveal, with the Golf-sized I.D. Neo hatch serving as a starting point for a new entry-level electric.

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2019 Audi TT RS Receives Mild Refresh, Hazy Future

Having already spruced up the standard TT over the summer, Audi is now ready to unveil lightly refreshed versions of the TT RS and TT RS Roadster. The brand basically needs to tide its customers over until the model undergoes a more comprehensive update or is replaced by something else.

That’s not all bad. While a bit expensive, the standard TT is an excellent driver’s car that’s also practical enough to live with as an everyday runabout if you’re flexible enough. That’s doubly true for the RS version, but its 400-hp 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine ought to button up any complaints one might associate with owning something approaching supercar levels of performance.

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Germany Engineering Firm Pleads Guilty to Involvement in VW Emissions Scandal

IAV GmbH, the German engineering company co-owned by Volkswagen Group, plead guilty to a felony count of conspiracy in a U.S. District Court on Friday, to the surprise of absolutely no one. Last month, authorities said the firm had already agreed to a guilty plea and multi-million-dollar fine for its role in helping Volkswagen Group develop software that could effectively help cars falsify emissions test results.

That makes the courtroom officiation little more than a formality. While the court wants to conducts a probationary investigation, effectively delaying sentencing until May 22nd, there is little doubt what the final penalty will be — $35 million and two years of operation under the supervision of a court-appointed monitor.

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U.S. Indicts Four Audi Managers for Diesel Deception

Four men tasked with developing a very dirty diesel engine for use in Audi vehicles have been indicted by a U.S. grand jury. The four, including the head of Audi’s Diesel Engine Development department, face charges of wire fraud, violation of the Clean Air Act, and conspiracy, all stemming from the development of an engine that didn’t have a chance of being certified in the U.S.

And, because they’re believed to be living in Germany, they’d best leave the U.S. off their list of vacation destinations.

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Electrification's Silver Lining: Audi CEO Announces PB 18 E-tron Production Plans [Updated]

Audi unveiled the PB 18 e-tron Concept at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance with absolutely no assurance that it would ever be more than a fun idea. In fact, the company outright said it had no plans to put the vehicle into production. Miraculously, Audi flip-flopped, and the electrified hypercar is now slated for assembly.

You might hate it, but this is one of the few concept vehicles to ever make this author cream the proverbial jeans during office hours. Maybe it’s because I normally wait until the darkest point of the evening to unfurl my shame over a bottle of homemade wine and revisit vintage photo rolls of the Honda Unibox and Suzuki Regina — the latter of which was too good for this world.

However, whether or not Audi can successfully capture the magic of the PB 18 Concept remains to be seen.

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Audi Claims Women Like Butch Cars Because It Needs It To Be True

Audi is claiming women want butch, masculine, testosterone-saturated designs when it comes to their automobiles. Though it isn’t clear if they’re doing this because the automaker conducted extensive research on the matter or because they happen to be selling a muscular-looking crossover they’re really hoping will be popular with women.

Truth be told, while we wouldn’t have expected male and female tastes to perfectly overlap, we didn’t know that women were biased toward vehicular beefcake one way or the other.

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A Cheaper Audi EV's on the Way: Report

Customers won’t get a chance to buy an Audi E-tron SUV until next year, but, if money’s tight, they might want to hold off for a while. The German brand’s first electric utility vehicle (seen above) arrives in the second quarter of 2019, carrying a base price of $74,800 — at least once the launch editions clear out. More E-trons will follow, including a Sportback version of the SUV and a top-flight GT sports sedan.

Green, but still requiring plenty of green to plunk one in your driveway. Audi apparently has a solution for budget-minded premium EV shoppers, and it plans to make it happen with help from Volkswagen.

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Audi Pulls the Sheet Off E-tron GT Concept in LA

After some healthy automotive foreplay, Audi finally took the wraps off its new e-tron GT Concept at the LA Auto Show. Offering the best elements of the brand’s design language, the vehicle previews a production model that’s scheduled to appear late in 2020, as well as Porsche’s upcoming Taycan EV — which will share the Audi’s drivetrain and platform.

Relatively handsome, if you like Audi sedans and oversized grilles on electric cars, the GT avoids getting overly ambitious with the futuristic styling we see on a lot of mainstream EVs. We’d call this “extremely modern” rather than some truly visionary design you’d expect from a concept car. It’s safe but not so safe that anyone should be left fretting.

However, it’s not quite the Tesla destroyer the media is eternally hunting for. Despite boasting some impressive specifications, the e-tron is roughly on par with the Model S when viewed broadly. But it should still make for healthy competition while encouraging the American brand to step up its game.

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Readying the Spork: The 2020 Audi Q4

Audi has confirmed its design team has finished applying the finishing touches on the company’s first-ever Q4. Its job will be to tackle the increasingly popular subcompact luxury crossover segment populated by the likes of the Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes-Benz GLA. As such, the German brand will provide its customers with a vehicle that’ll assuredly be marketed as an adventure-ready SUV while still being a luxury-focused tech buffet that handles like a sports car and looks phenomenal.

It’s an interesting situation. Despite the industry’s fierce determination to make premium sedans and SUVs ever more “coupe-like,” nobody seems to be selling legitimate coupes anymore. You don’t see that much with other products. Sporks exist because companies didn’t want to pay to stock twice as many eating utensils, not because people were clamoring for a fork-like spoon.

That might not be a fair comparison, though. While everyone hates the spork, only a small subset of jaded automotive journalists and driving purists feel like crossover vehicles are an unfair compromise. The rest of the population seems to adore them, at least according to the sales statistics, and Audi is trying to tap into everything that’s hot right now with the Q4.

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Audi E-tron GT Concept Arrives Earlier Than Expected

Scheduled to make its official debut at the 2018 LA Auto Show later this week, Audi decided to unwrap the e-tron GT Concept early — bringing in celebrity and friend of the brand Robert Downey Jr. to help do the honors.

While photos of the event were off limits, Audi was kind enough to provide a few media-approved renderings of what appears to be an A7 — sans grille — wearing the company’s signature EV camouflage. This is the e-tron GT, ready to do battle with Tesla’s Model S once Audi puts it into production. According to German outlet Bild am Sonntag, an uncamouflaged version of the concept should appear in Los Angeles on Wednesday — giving the manufacturer an opportunity to parse out the important details. However, we already have some of the pertinent specs.

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Volkswagen's Dieselgate Still Going Strong in Europe

While Volkswagen’s diesel emission fiasco has died down in the United States, costing the automaker billions before going achieving dormancy, the legal fires burn brightly in Europe. On November 14th, a German court ruled that VW must reimburse the owner of a Golf the full price of the vehicle from when it was purchased in 2012. The decision sets a new precedent, possibly opening the firm to additional expenses via buybacks.

However, Volkswagen AG has claimed around 9,000 judgements have already been made relating to the diesel emissions scandal — most of which resulted in customer complaints being unsupported by district and higher courts. “In our opinion, there is no legal basis for customer complaints [in Europe]. Customers have suffered neither losses nor damages. The vehicles are safe and roadworthy,” VW said.

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QOTD: Found Yourself in a Slippery Situation?

Wintery weather gripped many parts of North America over the past week, as the snowman arrived earlier than expected. Seeing all the accompanying gross photos got me thinking about driving in winter, which is of course where we all shine … and everyone else is awful.

Except for when we’re actually awful ourselves. Let’s talk about winter weather driving experiences.

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Volkswagen Might Put Audi on the Back Burner, Spend More Time With Ford: Report

According to sources who spoke to Reuters, Volkswagen Group has more interest in pursuing technological relationships with new partners, especially Ford, than continuing on with Audi as its main development hub. At least for a while.

VW CEO Herbert Diess will reportedly unveil a 10-year plan to his company’s board later this month, part of an efficiency initiative born of diesel fines and the need to stay ahead of rivals. While the move would lessen Audi’s importance in the group, VW would stand to save big on R&D costs. Meanwhile, Ford might get access to VW’s electric vehicle architecture.

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  • Bryan I used Costco a while back, and didn't care for it - you still wind up going to the dealership.The last time I bought a new car I used an actual car broker and I'll use one again the next time. Whatever they charged me was the best money I spent that year.
  • SCE to AUX Just add a split rear window, and the hybrid sins will be forgiven.
  • SCE to AUX Just add a split rear window, and the hybrid sins will be forgiven.
  • SCE to AUX Maybe those union dues will help soften the landing. Employment there used to be 4000 people, and the plant has been at risk for 15 years. Stellantis did recently say that it would be trimming dead wood so it could rebuild the company. The Cherokee is finished, but I bet the plant reopens with a smaller workforce once Stellantis figures out what to do with it.
  • Zipper69 The Bronco is a soft option and has the style that the Jeep lacks. The actual ability of the respective vehicles is irrelevant, they "compete" on image alone. The Bronco is new and trendy and production can't keep pace with demand