Audi Mulls Mini Fighter For U.S.
- Audi is considering a small car for the U.S. market that is about the size of a Mini, Edmunds learned at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
- The company is looking at the redesigned Audi A1, which is expected to be on sale in Europe in about four years.
- The urbanization of America is driving Audi's decision, in part.
DETROIT — Audi is considering a small car for the U.S. market that is about the size of a Mini, Edmunds learned at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
Scott Keogh, Audi of America president, said in an interview that the company is looking at the redesigned Audi A1, which is expected to be on sale in Europe in about four years.
"When you start to look at the demographics shift, CAFE standards, a host of things, we think it could have an opportunity (here)," Keogh said. "We will definitely take a very, very, very long look at the second generation of the car."
"CAFE" stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy, the heading given to a wide range of U.S fuel economy regulations that all automakers are required to meet. In particular, automakers are required to increase the combined fuel economy of their vehicles four percent annually through 2025.
Keogh said driving the need for small luxury cars will be a population shift in the U.S.
"As I look into the future and see how dynamics are going to change, America is urbanizing dramatically," he said. "A lot of affluent people are moving back into the cities. I think that they will be looking at (smaller) car concepts."
The current-generation A1 is a popular, highly rated hatchback sold in Europe. Sales of the three-door model began in late 2010; the five-door Sportback was added in late 2011. That car is primarily aimed at young, affluent urban buyers. Keogh said the redesigned five-door model eyed for the U.S. market would arrive around 2017 if approval is given.
In terms of size, the current generation A1 five-door hatchback is 155.6 inches long. That compares with a 161.3 inches for the five-door Mini Countryman and 171.6 inches for the 2013 Ford Focus five-door hatchback.
The smallest car Audi currently sells in the United States is the 2012 A3 five-door hatchback, which carries a base price of $28,165 including destination. A 2013 model is not offered. The redesigned 2014 A3 will arrive in about a year. Two models will be offered: a five-door hatchback and a sedan.
Edmunds says: Is Audi going down the right road with a Mini fighter for the U.S.?