Wearing Audi’s brand new exterior appearance philosophy, the A6 and now the smaller A4 enters the 2012 European market under the optimism they are providing vehicles the customers want. While the four-door sedans are the hot commodity of almost any automotive marketplace, the European marketplace for Audi for the A4 and A6 includes the Avant wagon model. Picked as one of the favourite cars from 2011 by Motors.co.uk, the Audi A6 Avant was appreciated by the reputable British on-line marketplace site for its superior build, performance choice and larger size. Some would definitely think that the A6 Avant could be a hot seller in the United States premium car community. Unfortunately, the entire Avant line is on a hiatus from the United States market through the 2012 model year.
A prized automotive marketplace that had completely divested from wagons during the late 1990s, North American appetites first turned to minivans evolving into the sport utility craze. Thanks to the car-based crossover vehicle, the wagon has made a recovery of sorts undercover of all-wheel drive propulsion and taller rooflines. Returning in a similar manner as the five-door hatchback to United States, the wagon configuration is seen in a less conventional form.
In the mainstream auto marketplace, vehicles like the Nissan Juke, Kia Soul and Toyota Versa has been romancing the typical wagon family crowds. Luxury motorists also demand a car with extended cargo capacities mobilizing cars like the Mercedes-Benz R-Class and the Lexus CT200h as elegant yet creative approaches to premium utility. As buyers seek the unique interpretations of crossover utility motoring, the traditional wagon configuration of the Audi Avant models places the vehicles in a sub-category less likely to be success. Even though quattro all-wheel drive would play a part through the acceptance of both the A4 and A6 Avant, these wagon’s face a tough American automotive audience.
Traditional wagon vehicles based on the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon and the Acura TSX have fought with mixed success for automobile market share against the premium crossover utility products. Existing as the Honda Accord Tourer in Europe, the Acura TSX Sport Wagon was introduced to the North American product line-up for 2011 has sold 2,915 examples (accounting for less than 10 percent total TSX model produced in 2011). Acura had initially released the TSX Sport Wagon with the anticipation of selling 4,000 a year in North America. Along with sales difficulties for new releases, add to equation reduced competition in the segment with the fact Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have either decreased or completely eliminated their conventional looking wagons from the United States car line-up.
Another obstacle to the prompt appearance of the Avant versions of the Audi A4 and Audi A6 in North America comes directly from their own four-ring badged vehicles. Audi’s own crossover vehicles (the Q5 and Q7) are already entrenched in the North American sale plans. Audi is still mulling over whether the compact crossover Q3 will arrive stateside. For American premium car buyers desiring more usable cargo room, Audi believes that their newly released A7 Sportback captures the intentions of utility without the stigma of a wagon.
The Avant’s return to the United States marketplace will be guided by customer demand. Based on the arrival of the Audi TT RS and the upcoming US arrival of the RS5 in 2012, the Germany luxury badge has developed a good track record for recognizing the allure North American consumers have for their European vehicles. Perhaps with enough coaxing, the Audi A6 Avant could be a matter of a few requests away.
Information source: Audi AG, American Honda Motors
Photo source: Audi AG
Students at the University of San Diego happened across an unusual sighting a couple days ago. Apparently Audi was doing a photo shoot of the new A5 Sportback at the school, and these cell phone camera-equipped students snapped a few photos of the car almost completely unveiled.
The A5 Sportback, which we reported on a few days ago, will have four doors and a “coupe-like” roofline, and will be able to carry almost as much cargo as the A4 Avant. It will be available with five engines; two gasoline options and three diesel-powered TDI variants. There will be an S5 variant with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6.
The A5 Sportback will not be available in the States, at least right away, even though this is where they’re shooting the photos. It’s expected to debut at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
The A5 Sportback will be a direct competitor to the BMW 5-series GT, although I’m still not entirely sure why it’s part of the A5 line and not the A4, considering it has four doors. I know, I know, it’s all about the “four-door coupe” thing now, I just don’t buy it.
The lucky student who snapped these shots had a chance to sit in the car as well. His findings:
Inside the car is very familiar, the dash pretty much the standard A5/A4 affair, as to be expected, but the seating in back is what surprised me. The roof slopes back towards the integrated spoiler with a fairly steep rake, yet the downward slide begins in earnest right where your head sits. The result is a very attractive outward profile and substantially more room in the back than the A5. In fact, the headliner even makes a slight rise to accommodate more headroom. One other bit of interest in the interior is the metal trim used, almost a perforated aluminum, something I’d not seen before in an Audi.
More pictures and info at Fourtitude