Audi to Invest $30.2 Billion by 2018 – Plug-In Vehicles to Become More Central to Automaker’s Push For #1 in Luxury Segment

JAN 9 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 4

Audi A3 e-tron

Audi A3 e-tron

Understandably, those of us who’ve been following plug-in for years now will find it difficult to believe that a turnaround is underway at Volkswagen AG, but I’ve personally spent considerable time investigating the going ons at Volkswagen-Audi-Porsche in the past couple of months to arrive at this conclusion: change is coming.

Plug-in Audi Sport Quattro Concept

Plug-in Audi Sport Quattro Concept

In a previous post, I detailed VW Group’s upcoming plug-ins.  Now, it’s time to focus in on Audi.

Luxury automaker Audi just announced a massive $30.2 billion investment plan which sees the automaker spending all of that money on vehicle development/technology by 2018.  The goal for Audi is to become the world’s #1 (in sales) luxury automaker.

A vast majority of that $30.2 billion will be spent on technology designed to improve fuel economy and/or alt-fuel vehicles.

Audi isn’t talking diesel here.  Instead, Audi will focus more intently on plug-ins and hybrids as it seeks that #1 spot.

Audi R8 E-tron Now Production-Bound?

Audi R8 E-tron Now Production-Bound?

The Audi A3 e-tron is first up for the plug-in Audis, but next in line may well be the R8 e-tron.

Audi will also unveil a sporty electric concept at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.

And there’s even been evidence from Audi suggesting that Tesla is now “cool.”

Of course, Audi change of mind hasn’t come overnight.  It’s been years in the making.  But the time is now almost upon us when VW-Audi will enter the plug-in segment in a BIG way.

As Volkswagen says in advertising its plug-in hybrid XL1 “Because We Can.”  VW Group “can” quickly become the leader in the plug-in segment if it chooses to, but will it?  We shall see.

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Audi

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4 Comments on "Audi to Invest $30.2 Billion by 2018 – Plug-In Vehicles to Become More Central to Automaker’s Push For #1 in Luxury Segment"

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Eric, I think you’re on target. VW/Audi/Porsche could get wrong the amount of battery capacity alt fuel / electric consumers seek, while they continue to develop fast-in, fast-out, watts technologies, or KERS. Cars, like the A8, are apt to get similarly low specs, as the Panamera S-E (~20 miles/9kwh).

Curious, but I think they can develop for both racing and CARB mileage targets, yet still have room to miss the point of consumers ultimately prefering a good REx luxury formula, perhaps delivered by Nissan, BMW, etc. If these drivers are at all like many of us, they won’t want to bring electricity into the ICE formula so much as take (the ice) out.

Really like the A3 E-tron and disappointed to see it now won;t make it to the U.S. until 2015…Nissan and GM will be introducing their second gen cars before Audi gets it together with their first gens. If GM’s next Volt has 60+ miles of range, improved performance and another price drop (all just speculation on my part – but not really far-fetched) it could be very painful for the i3s and their ilk.

I think all the luxury car makers (Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, etc.) have been completely blind-sided by Tesla and the Model S. They all realize that they are behind the game now and they are all going to desperately try to play catch-up.

Some of them were not completely dismissive of plug-in vehicles but placed not such good bets. For example, BMW worked hard on their i line with the nice carbon reinforced plastic parts. But I don’t think the i3 is a great design and the i8 is an insignificant niche vehicle.

the slogan of Audi in advertisement always was: “Vorsprung durch Technik” (Advantage through technology).

Look at that now.. LOL