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Audi Betting Big on Little A3 Sedan

Plug-in hybrid version to follow, likely by late 2014.

by on Mar.27, 2013

Audi gives media a sneak peak at the 2015 A3.

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 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.

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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.


First Look: Audi A3 Concept

Audi delivers a show-stopper.

by on Mar.03, 2011

Audi delivers a show-stopper with the A3 Concept.

Just three years since the last significant update, Audi showed up in Geneva with a new version of the compact A3.  Well, not quite.

The coupe-like sedan drawing crowds at this week’s Geneva Motor Show is officially described as a “concept” vehicle, but it doesn’t take much of an effort to see what the next-generation A3 will look like when it goes into production.

The show car on display at Geneva’s PALExpo convention center has the requisite flash, some over-the-top lighting and the extensive use of carbon fiber accent pieces.

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But the basic lines follow the mandate of Walter de’Silva, the persuasive styling chief for Volkswagen AG, who is adamant in his opposition to recent trends which seem to stress the over-use of sheet metal creases and folds.  No, the new A3 is anything but slab-sided, but there is a simplicity in its elegance.