For such a small car, Audi has a lot riding on the success of the all-new A3 sedan that got its debut during a media sneak peek prior to this week’s New York International Auto Show.
The 2015 Audi A3 is targeting a downsized segment that could become one of the fastest-growing niches of the U.S. luxury car market, industry analysts forecast, especially if fuel prices continue to rise. The German maker developed a sedan version of the compact A3 specifically for the U.S. market rather than going with the next-generation wagon – Sportback in Audi lingo – that will be the primary offering in Europe and most other parts of the world.
“Sedans are the way to go” in the U.S., where wagons have traditionally been a hard-sell, said Scott Keogh, head of Audi’s U.S. sales subsidiary, during a conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com. The outgoing Sportback model had a modest but loyal following, the executive noted, and actually gained some traction last year, especially for its diesel-powered version. But the new A3, which will launch in the spring of next year, is expected to be far more popular.
Declaring it “crucial” to Audi of America’s aggressive growth plans, Keogh said the new A3 will be the brand’s “third leg, a real volume car,” along with the bigger A4 and A6 luxury lines.
The redesign of the compact A3 reflects shifting trends in the luxury market. Buyers are not only downsizing but also they’re expecting today’s smaller offerings to deliver the sort of luxurious features that were once found in larger and notably more expensive models.
“This A3 line-up redefines the standards of its class in dynamics, efficiency, technology, craftsmanship and performance,” Keogh said during his media preview.