The fate of the Audi A1 premium light hatch is reportedly hanging in the balance, due to the relative high cost of electrifying small cars.
It’s about that time we would begin to see spy shots of a mid-life facelift Audi A1, no doubt with added electrification to help hit stricter emissions targets imposed in Europe.
But no such update is understood to be in development, yet.
Speaking to journalists ahead of the E-Tron GT’s unveiling, Autocar quoted Audi chief executive Markus Duesmann as saying “We do discuss what we do with the small segments. In the A1 segment, we have some other brands [in the Volkswagen Group] who are active there and very successful, with very high production, so we do question the A1 at the moment.”
It’s becoming more difficult for manufacturers to offer smaller cars, due to the increasing cost of developing and producing them compared to what they can be sold for.
Advancements in safety, electrification and high-tech infotainment are all demands that buyers and governments are making, but they’re proving too difficult for manufacturers to equip at entry-level prices.
It’s part of the reason we’ve seen models such as the Honda Jazz and Renault Clio removed from our local market – along with the cost of sourcing them from expensive and distant regions – and why cars like the Toyota Yaris have jumped in price due to extra safety and tech additions.
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2019 Audi AI:ME concept
Audi is understood to be developing an entry-level electric replacement which could revive the A2 moniker, a car that was never sold in Australia. It could use the MEB electric platform and draw upon the Audi AI:ME concept's styling.
“Maybe not exactly with that design, but I like the A2”, Audi’s boss said. “Certainly we discuss the A2 segment as well. So, it might be an A2 or an E2, or an A3 or an E3. We’re at the moment discussing that.”
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Despite a question mark hanging over the smallest Audi in its line-up, it seems the SUVs are safe.
“We will certainly offer Q2s [small SUVs] and the like,” he continued. “That might be the new entry level for us; we might not do anything smaller.”