A small aside tucked away in the press release about the new Audi A7 caught my eye: ‘The A7 Sportback will project the Vorsprung durch Technik brand into yet another new segment when it joins the UK range as its 35th member in January 2011, priced from £42,925.’
Strip away the marketing phraseology. Ignore the price, bang on BMW 5GT money. What caught my eye was the news that this was the 35th distinct bodystyle in Audi’s range.
Thirty-five Audis? I thought they had A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, A8 plus a few Qs and Rs…
Remember that most car manufacturers have a different idea to you and I of what constitutes a separate model line. Audi, for instance, reckons it has three different A3 models in the three-door hatch, five-door Sportback and soft-top Cabriolet – and it counts S and RS models as separate lines too.
Do the maths this way and the A7 is indeed the 35th addition to the Audi brochure. And this from a company whose entire range only 30 years ago could have been counted on a salesman’s left hand. That’s industrial progress for you.
No wonder Audi has become one of the world’s biggest premium car makers. It’s taken time – many decades – but market saturation and identifying laser-slim niches is one of the driving forces behind Ingolstadt’s growth to a record 1,003,469 sales in 2008.
Where will it all end?
Good question. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has pledged that Audi will have 42 models on sale by 2015. So we can expect a further seven all-new models to arrive by then. Bearing in mind the three-door Audi A1 due this October is already counted, here’s our best guess of what the seven remaining new Audis could be:
• RS3 (a final swansong for the A3 range, due this autumn)
• A1 (5dr Sportback, cabrio, Q1 variants expected)
• A2 (spun off the new VW Up! package)
• R5 sports car (Audi’s version of the mid-engined VW Bluesport)
• Q3 (already confirmed for production in 2011)
>> Any other ideas? Click ‘Add your comment’ and share your crystal ball gazing with us!