Primarily because it had nothing entirely new and ground-breaking to share, Audi wasn’t a show-stopper at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Sure, it showed off models such as the 2015 Q3, 2015 A3, and 2015 A8, 2015 S8, but all of them had already been unveiled at other auto shows in 2013. So if it weren’t for the allroad Shooting Brake concept, the Four Rings would have had nothing new at all, actually. Fortunately, it did bring the concept, and it seems to be enjoying a warm reception. Here’s Audi’s presentation from NAIAS 2014 in video:
But we’d still like to meticulously examine the remarks made by executives during their press conference at the show. You will either find these completely boring, or quite stirring. As always, we provide our comments about the speech below the official remarks; believe it or not, it has (just) a couple juicy details that we’re hearing for the first time. So if you’re here just for those, do scroll down all the way past the transcribed speech.
Scott Keogh – President, Audi Of America
Thank you all for joining us to hear the latest from Audi.
A warm Detroit welcome to our Leadership from Audi AG, Volkswagen Group and of course the World´s Automotive Media.
2014 is already off to a strong start.
We opened by reporting our biggest sales year ever – 158,061 vehicles — and notched our fourth consecutive annual sales record.
December 2013 finished as our best month ever. Never before had the Audi brand sold more than 15,000 cars in a month. In December we sold more than 17,000.
But that was just a start. Last week we showed the full force of Audi technology at CES. And the result was spectacular. Audi stood as the top-trending brand among all brands at the world’s largest technology showcase.
And now we have substantial news to share here in Detroit.
If I could boil today’s theme down to one word it would be: confirmation.
Confirmation that the record results achieved in 2013 prove the value of our longstanding strategy to develop a sustainable business model based on brand strength and pricing power.
And confirmation that Audi fully intends to make a lot of noise in the entry-level luxury market.
This began in Los Angeles when we presented the all new A3 sedan with TFSI engines, the S3 sedan, the A3 Cabriolet and the A3 Sportback e-tron. Rest assured we will bring a TDI clean diesel model, too.
These cars are aimed at the compact luxury car market that is expected to grow 400% over the next five years.
Now we are adding the 2015 Audi Q3 crossover.
In the Fall of 2014 it will join a segment expected to expand 220% over the next five years.
The Q3 joins the Audi Q5, which produced a 41% sales gain last year… There can be no question that the time is right for Audi to make this move now.
If Audi could set an all-time US sales record in 2013 with no A3 or Q3 models to sell… imagine what we can do starting in 2014 with not one or two models, but with eight variants, four body styles and five unique engines.
Now I’d like to introduce our CEO Rupert Stadler.
Rupert Stadler – CEO And Chairman, Audi AG
Thank you so much, Scott. Thank you for sharing this impressive track record of successes in 2013. The outlook for Audi’s future in the United States is even more promising – as you indicated. Let’s show our audience what we mean when we talk about future success in the US.
Ladies and gentlemen, the new Audi S8. The most sporty sedan of Audi’s luxury segment. A premiere for the US.
Scott Keogh and I know that this new Audi A8 will excite and convince customers in the US. It will come to Audi dealerships from summer on.
Scott, the A8 will add another chapter to the momentum story of Audi in the United States. You and your fantastic team will make it happen. Thank you so much in advance and all the best for 2014.
For almost 20 years, the Audi A8 has been the very successful crown of our premium sedan family. And again, our engineers took all their expertise and dedication and came up with a true masterpiece:
- Refined and uncompromised design
- Premium quality and fitting at highest perfection
- Technology engineered for the perfect drive
- And benchmark efficiency in its segment
The new Audi A8 takes all of these qualities to a new level. One important detail:
Our 6-cylinder TDI clean Diesel has a remarkably low consumption resulting in 36 miles per gallon on a Highway and benchmark CO2 efficiency.
The new A8 is truly a synonym for how the Audi engineers are pushing the limits of technology. And that’s what we are committed to – in our strive to position the Audi brand where it belongs to – the top of the premium automotive industry.
2013 has been an extremely successful year for Audi:
- We saw a new all-time record in terms of sales
- We launched pathfinding technologies and products
- We outperformed the competition in motorsports
For the first time ever, we delivered more than 1.57 million cars, 8.3 percent more than 2012. With this, we over-achieved our strategic target of 1.5 million cars two years earlier than planned.
In other words: in the past four years alone, we have attracted more than 600,000 new customers worldwide. Let me take this opportunity to thank our global team for this tremendous accomplishment. And we do not rest on our laurels. We are committed to push our growth even further toward our goal of 2 million units per year in 2020.
This year, we are gaining momentum with the global market introduction of 17 promising models – among them, we will see five new cars such as:
- Audi S1,
- Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid,
- Audi A3 g-tron with Audi e-gas and
- The third generation of the Audi TT Coupé
We pursue the mission of becoming the world’s leading premium car manufacturer.
This is why we recently announced the largest investment program of our company history. We will spend a total of approximately 22 billion Euros through 2018, equivalent to more than 30 billion dollars. Two thirds of this amount will go into
- New production sites
- New products, and
- New technologies
We are committed to constantly refining our automobiles. And we are equally committed to redefining mobility.
For many years, Audi has been a leader for automotive electronics and human-machine interface solutions.
We were the first car manufacturer to showcase at the International CES in 2011 – and last week in Las Vegas, we saw a lot of attention for our latest innovations on:
- Piloted driving and parking
- High-speed LTE standard
- Virtual cockpit for the next-generation TT sports car
- And laser light technology
In these areas, we are truly leading the industry.
And, we announced the Open Automotive Alliance where we partner with technology leaders such as Google to bring Android applications to our cars, starting in 2014.
All of these innovations are truly bold steps forward to bring an even safer and more intuitive car technology to the streets.
Our Chief Technology Officer, Professor Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, will now give you a deeper insight in what we envision for the future.
Please welcome the next vehicular masterpiece from Audi.
Ulrich Hackenberg – Chief Technology Officer, Audi AG
Ladies and gentlemen, the Audi allroad shooting brake.
For an engineer, it is one of the truly great moments to come on stage here in Detroit and present a brand-new concept car.
A car that is “unique and pathfinding” in many ways.
A car that combines core values of Audi coming from
- quattro and
A car that has the potential to impress customers around the globe.
This is a two-door compact sports car in a new look.
Measuring 4.2m, in length and 1,85m in width, the Audi allroad shooting break has a powerful road stance. It’s a crossover for all roads and tracks, for everyday driving pleasure. It tells you about the evolution of the car – nothing less. Let me give you three examples.
The evolution of Audi design: if you look at its quattro allroad chassis and its shooting brake share, you get an idea of what the new Audi TT will look like: the third generation of our successful compact sports car.
The interior features a very emotional and high-quality dashboard, that gives a preview to the TT. Light-weight seat shells, a flexible center console based on shift-by-wire and a multi-functional steering wheel that allows for sporty handling.
The evolution of human-machine interface and operating systems: Audi has been a pathfinder in these areas – for many years. The HMI systems of this concept car are similar to the new Audi TT interior as presented at the CES in Las Vegas.
We created a virtual cockpit, fully digital and optimally driver-focused. It offers an even enhanced system performance and brilliant graphics. Drivers will experience unique handling comfort and zero distraction.
Third: The evolution of drivetrain technology:
The Audi allroad shooting brake comes with an impressive 300 kW drivetrain, equivalent to 408 hp and a torque of 650 Nm. With its quattro all-wheel drive, this car is another demonstration of how powerful Audi “plug-in hybrids” are. It combines a 2.0L TFSI Engine at 215 kW or 288 hp with two electric motors at 40 kW and 85 kW. The 85 kW motor is located at the rear axe.
When the rear motor teams up with the front drive train, the Audi allroad shooting brake turns into an Audi e-tron quattro.
With only 4.6 sec from 0 to 100 km/h, this alternative drive technologies offer the same level of performance you may expect from every other Audi. And even more: alternative drives takes efficiency to a new level. The electric drive allows for a range of 50 km.
In the European cycle, the Audi allroad shooting brake only takes 1.9 l/100km. That’s a mileage of 130 mpg.
These two performance indicators are clearly a benchmark for efficiency.
In my view, any kind of future mobility will need to be efficient, sustainable, connected and multi-varied.
Audi will offer a number of drivetrain technologies in parallel — from high-tech combustion engines, to e-gas engines, to hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electrics. At Audi, the future of mobility is already there.
It is daily business in my team of more than 10.000 engineers worldwide. Our customers expect innovative solutions that support their connected lifestyle. Therefore, we partner with start-up companies and leading players of the electronics industry. Among others, we focus on synchronizing the innovation loops of the automotive and the electronics industry. That’s how we keep pace with the short development and product life cycles in electronics. As an example, one of our focus areas is to making sure that our solutions are upgradeable. When German precision engineering meets Silicon Valley creativity you get this unique kind of mobility experience only Audi can offer.
Thanks to this partnership, our cars will become truly mobile devices.
Watch out for more to come.
Thank you for your attention.
The Motrolix Take
Although most of the speech here is pretty much standard Audi (cut-and-dry) fare, there are some interesting rid-bits here.
The most eyebrow-raising is Stadler’s statistic that Audi will introduce 17 “promising new models” in 2014. Four of these will be the the S1, A3 e-tron, A3 g-tron, and third-gen TT. That much we already knew. That makes us wonder what the other 13 are.
Separately, Heckenberg pretty much confirmed that the quattro Shooting Brake concept is an “allroad-ized” A3, which itself will share a lot with the third-gen TT. We assumed the concept to be based on VAG’s MQB architecture, but now know it for sure.
What did you find the most interesting from the presentation? Talk to us in the comments.