Audi plans for the future with increase in model range
Audi will increase its model range from 50 to 60 by 2020 and raise output from 1.57 million last year to two million.
An increasing proportion will be made outside Germany - this year for the first time external production will outstrip the number of cars built in the company's homeland.
The company also plans to increase its tally of manufacturing sites from 12 now to 14 by next year, and to grow the employee head count from just under 74,000 to 80,000 by 2018.
Audi launched 15 new models or derivatives in 2013 and this year is planning on another 17. They include an all-new replacement for the TT and high-performance versions of the three and five-door A1 and the A3 Cabriolet.
Further ahead, there will be a fourth SUV - the compact Q1 - and replacements for the A4 and A6 families, the A8 luxury saloon and the Q5 and Q7 SUVs.
Audi will also replace its flagship sports car, the R8, next year with a new model sharing some technologies with the Lamborghini Huracan. A hybrid version, the R8 e-tron, will be offered 'upon customer request'. The all-electric version of the current R8 was dropped in 2013.
Head of technical development Dr Ulrich Hackenberg told DriveTimes recently that Audi is "working on future derivatives of the TT" beyond the coupe and roadster which were offered with the first two generations of the car.
Two have already been shown - the Allroad Shooting Brake concept (pictured), which appeared at Detroit in January, and the 310 kilowatt quattro sport concept revealed at Geneva in March and already confirmed for production. "We are looking to see if there is more we can do," says Hackenberg. "Could the TT be extended as a family car?"
Audi is also developing a brand-within-a-brand with its new high-efficiency ultra models as rivals for BMW's Efficient Dynamics range. Featuring powertrain and aerodynamic tweaks, they are expected to be particularly attractive in markets blighted by high fuel prices or CO2-based taxation. There will be 13 on offer by the end of this year, including one based on the new TT.
In Germany Audi has recently added the A3 g-tron, which can be fuelled by petrol, natural gas or e-gas created by a chemical process from wind power.
Later this year it will launch the A3 e-tron, a plug-in hybrid with a range on electric power of up to 50 kilometres and CO2 emissions officially rated at 35g/km.
- Sunday Star Times