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Audi A6

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  • Good point.

     

    I think the M3 will hold a tad bit more resale value.

     

    There will be many 300s at the lower end. A sea of fleet models will dot the landscape. One would be very hard pressed to see a 3 series base model in this country. THe % of production I would say is miniscule compared to fleet sales of a base, or near base 300.

     

    You have a point and I apprciate he the relevent imput.
  • I remember having to choose an audi 4000 with a VW 4cyl engine, or the VW quantum with the Audi 5 cyl (5000) engine. I went with the VW to get the engine. Think that lease was $229 per month! THis was a 87' after the last upgrades. Great wheels with great Pirellis on them. They were the porche tires and cost $200 each to replace! I did not!

     

    I saw this car recently and was amazed how funny some of the lines of the car is. The roofline seems too tall for the base fo the car. Granted it was not the prettiest thing on the road then, but it did hav that Volvo look to it!

     

    IT had the best fabric on any car ever! I don't think leather was offered. This was my last fabric car as the static electricity was so bad I almost was afraid to touch the car getting out! It freaked me out after a few years! Shock theropy!

     

    My brother and sister both had 5000's back then and this was my way of hanging! My sister got the 88' special edition with the fack suede interior and special stereo, wheels and paint. Paid full price, this a week before the famous 60min story came out. Two weeks later she could have saved thousands off that sticker! Those first egg shaped 5000 changed the modern sedan and were great cars. They were low horsepower engines, but smooth and the drive was great!

     

    I read that Audi is really trying to bring up dealer profitability. Market conditions will dictate priceing no doubt. Your right Mark, it is a good time to be "alive" in the 50k sedan market due to offerings, but the new models could also have bloated lease offerings until the demand softens. AWD offerings will be in demand vs not. That is perhaps one reason the BMW's leasing well, as is the E-class at mercedes. From a value standpoint, it will be interesting to see how the mac-daddy chrysler 300 will lease.

     

    I looked at a Pacifica vs. Mac-daddy Sienna van last year and ended up buying the van, but did a lease comparison just to see what my options were. We about fell out laughing at the pacifica lease vs. the toyota given the residual. We were like "what planet are you on"? The chrysler dealership had really given us the new training schpeel about this being the first love child product from the Daimler/Chrylser marriage and how the dealer was changing. They just put a fancy chandelier and thought they went uptown.

     

    The Pacifia interior designer was and ex-audi man and you can see the infulences all over. The door design is taken from the A6, but done ever so cheaply.

     

    I too remain hopeful that in the end the consumer will win when the pricing softens, but I hope you don't time yourself out.
  • Even though there may be a dozen legit market reasons that the following shouldn't make us feel like we're being taken, well, it does just sorta stick in your craw:

     

    Wife's current car 2003 TT (MSRP) $42,000+ no money down, no sec dep, 36 month lease, 15K per year. $700+ including sales tax (here, NOW, that is 7%.)

     

    2005 BMW 330xi with all options, $45,000+ no money down, no sec dep, 36 month, bla bla bla -- about $560 (now that just "don't seem right.")

     

    I say to my wife, "that was then, this is now, new 3 series out by September, my dog ate my homework, look it's the Goodrich Blimp, etc." She somehow thinks Audi took advantage of her loyalty.

     

    I can argue somewhat convincingly, "that was then, this is now." But then she catches me when we do a lease comparison between the two companies TODAY -- and she feels Audi is pricing themselves outta the market.

     

    Whattya gonna do? She has, even if an argument could be made and won on its merits, a point: perception is reality.

     

    Besides, she test drove both a maxed out 330xi and a 3.0 A4 Ultra sport. Guess what the BMW seemed like a lot more car for less money (on the lease).

     

    Of course we drove the S4 and she grinned all the way around the block.

     

    Maybe it is just we don't like "feeling" we're being taken. Even if y'all come up with a dozen reasons 'taint so.

     

    Hopefully the new A4 will do it for "us."

     

    You can't win arguments when your spouse is a lawyer -- or even if you can, it is unsatisfying, 'specially when her arguments don't seem at all specious.
  • First major hiccup with 05 A6 3.2. Navigation system crapped out after cold spell. Dealer told me the new navigation system has had this problem in many 05 a6's and a8's. New unit is on order from Germany as it cannot be fixed. I will update situation.
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    The canyon red looks a lot better in person that what you see from pics.

     

    But it's hard to say if you'd like it for the long haul unless you saw it in person. It is sort of a "strong" color, so I could see some people geting tired of that color after several years.

     

    I wouldn't take anybody's word for it about how much they like it. You need to see the whole car in person.

     

    I think a lot of dealers may be afraid to order that car because of the color. So it may be a lot harder to find on a lot so you can look at it.
  • What was the A4 Ultrasport leasing for?

    Both are do for new models soon. BMW is getting a new model. consumer wins, if yo don't mind not having the new model. But at that price, its a good ride.

    The BMW was a coupe or sedan?

    I think Audi now wants its profitability,and prices won't fall until they realize they can't sell cars at those prices, or everybody sticks to their guns. By that, I seriously doubt BMW will discount its new 3 series? I doubt they will discount its new awd 5, same for Lexus, and Infiniti for its awd. If the demand is there, your not going to do great as you have on the past.

    That TT lease was expensive, but its relative to getting a cool car at the time, and price was not an issue at that time.

    The dog ate your home work! Priceless!
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,579
    The color is metallic and has a copper-like hue to it. I like it alot and it would be my choice if I buy an A6. It is not a pure red so you must see it to decide if you like it, a "love it or hate it" situation, IMO.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    Last Sept, I had the opportunity to visit the Audi factory in Ingolstadt, meet with Audi middle mgrs/engineers, drive the new A6 4.2 at ridiculous but stable speeds on the Autobahn, the A3 Sportback for a short jaunt on their grounds, and also tour their very impressive factory. It is well worth the trip to the factory and the Audi museum, if anyone has the chance.

    In visiting with the Audi mgrs, it was clear to me that they perceived 2005/2006 to be pivotal years for their company. There is some doubt about global acceptance of the new single grille, and it's obvious that they are constantly comparing themselves to their neighbors in Munich, BMW. German tastes in cars are very regional, down south it is almost all Audi and BMW, and the further north you go, the more you see Benz and VW.

    Another issue is the lack of synergy within the family of brands---VW, Audi, Bugatti, Seat, Skoda, Lamborghini, and Bentley, and the tough couple years that VW has been experiencing with poor sales of the new Golf. The Phaeton is also assumed to be a market failure, and too close to the A8 for proper differentiation. (Also interesting that the New Beetle is non-existent in Europe, perceived to be a toy and a bit of a joke.)

    They also know they need the Pikes Peak ASAP to better compete with the X5, M-class, X90, and even the Touareg. The Allroad was not a big seller in the scheme of things. The A2 has also not met sales expectations at the entry level locally, priced too high for the segment with expensive use of aluminum. The upcoming A3 was a fun car to briefly test out, and it felt like a more tossable version of my '02 A4 3.0.

    It was fascinating talking to the mgrs and engineers, and they are somewhat concerned whether the new Audi look will appeal to the US. Apparently, they also expect to sell a lot in China, possibly a bigger market than the US(?)

    Overall, was very impressed with their highly computerized factory. I am in the market for an A6, but we'll drive the RL, Infiniti M, and Lexus GS. The 4.2 is a bit out of my price range, but it sure felt stable at 140mph+ on the Autobahn!
  • Need opinions ASAP......I ordered a new 2005 Audi A6 4.2L with mostly every option except sport package several months ago and it is due to arrive any day now.....for reasons that are not important, I was not required to leave a deposit. Here is my predicament: for a long time, my heart was set on the 5 series for all the reasons known to members of this forum, however, over time, I became concerned with some of the issues that were afflicting the new e60, and given the fact that many of my partners (disproportionately-6 out 10!) at work were very long time Audi drivers/owners singing the praises of Quattro AWD (we are in New Jersey), I ended up ordering said A6. When I took the car for a test drive, I thought it was very nice, with the exception of a somewhat brittle ride/suspension, but, nevertheless, I ordered it. As time has gone on, I have continued to intermittently drive my fiance's BMW 330i, and when driving it, I am continuously reminded of the virtues of driving a BMW, hence making me question my decision, as the Audi is good, however, it is NOT a BMW. I have since borrowed my friend's 2005 Audi A6 3.2 to experience longer test drives than allowed at the dealer, and I am impressed with what is good about Audi, but I am still concerned that it is not handling the way a BMW 5 series does. Furthermore, as many of you probably know, the lease rates for Audi insofar as MF and residual are far, far worse than BMW, which is actually at the other end of the spectrum, with excellent MFs and residuals. Hence, a 5 series optioned out, costing 10K more than A6, has same monthly payment. Now, it sounds like I'm making the answer easy and building a strong case for abandoning the A6 and getting the BMW, however, consider this-in the last month, Money Magazine, Motorweek, and Edmunds have all endorsed the A6 OVER the BMW (I know not ALL surveys/reviews/magazines have), with Edmunds getting to the heart of it by way of their ratings, echoing multiple other reviews; Audi wins on everything, with everyone universally saying that it is clearly a more luxurious car, with BMW only exceeding Audi when it comes to steering and suspension (not too surprising)...subsequently I have read tons of reviews, etc. praising the A6 on everything, except mentions of brittle/busy/harsh suspension, overly assisted steering at low speeds, etc. This has all led to making the decision excruciatingly difficult-should I accept delivery of the A6 with its better interior, ergonomics, MMI, etc. with probably performance in terms of steering and handling second only to BMW, or should I abandon it and get the BMW specifically for the steering and handling and accept the otherwise lesser interior, ergonomics, I Drive, etc.? Money is NOT an issue for the aforementioned reasons, and if the answer comes up BMW, I am willing to get winter tires for the snow.

    Please give me your honest thoughts, impressions, as time is an issue.

    Thanks again to everyone on this forum and for putting up with the long post!
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    If folks have comments for stevenfw, please go to the discussion at this link to post them: stevenfw, "Audi A6 vs BMW 5-Series" #14, 20 Feb 2005 6:17 pm.

    Steven, let me make this observation: drive the A6 when it comes in, drive a similar 5-Series and buy the one that feels like your car. Sounds like you are letting too many outside factors overwhelm you...

    Anyway, since this discussion is not a comparo and you have found the appropriate one, let's continue there - at the link I just posted.

    Best of luck to you.
  • ckelly14ckelly14 Posts: 105
    Mark:

    You'll be happy to know that lease prices for the new A6 are starting to slowly come down. Audi financial has boosted the residual on the A6 at 36 months to about 57% from the prior 55%. The money factor is also lower. Also, if you have a previous Audi from 1998 MY on, there is a now a $1500 "customer loyalty" incentive if you lease from Audi. I believe this runs until May.
    This may have something to do with the 18 A6's that are sitting on my dealer's lot! The people at Audi need to have their head examined. They are currently making the same mistake with the new A4. My salesman told me that the current lease rates are "ridiculously high" because they feel they can get away with it on a new car introduction. He feels that rates will come down in a few months, but during that time, aren't they losing customers?

    I would also be interested in your opinion of my post on the "Luxury Performance Sedan" thread, regarding my very arrogant (and misinformed) Audi salesman. He didn't have a clue about the new M35/45 and told me that the new A4 would have the highest residual of ANY German car!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Very interesting post. Did they say anything about improving Audi's reliablity?

    M
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    Don't know about the new body style A6 as it will take time as a new model for data to come out.

    But the A4 sedans/avants are back on consumer reports recommended list.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    No, we did not get into Audi's reliability. In fact, the engineers seemed to assume (smugly?) that reliability was not a problem globally or certainly in home markets. We did discuss some of the newest technology---drive by wire and direct injection, advanced anti-theft, new repair techniques and use of high tensile steel, new safety systems, alternative fuels, etc.

    Close to 50% of Audis and other cars in Germany are diesels, so there was a disconnect when I asked them if Audi was heavily into fuel cell, hybrid, alternative fuel research. I don't think this is on German radar screens like it is with the Japanese. Could be a competitive disadvantage in 2-5 years, unless they catch up. If they are serious about China, Audi better start working on alternatives to gas and diesel.

    Quick question on the $1500 Audi loyalty discount....is it only available on leases? I stopped leasing a few yrs back, and now only buy, and would be interested if there are incentives to someone who owns an Audi A4 3.0? I assume they are only trying to sweeten the pot for lessees??? An extra $1500 would help me more seriously consider the new A6. Something tells me that incentives will kick in this spring or summer based on the posts I'm reading.
  • ckelly14ckelly14 Posts: 105
    The print out from the dealer said it was for leases and for special financing- I'm not sure what it's called but it's some sort of balloon payment thing (Audi Prefered?). Not on conventional payments, yet.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,837
    A magazine is interested in talking with current and former Audi owners with strong opinions about the brand. If you traded in an Audi to buy another brand's SUV, please indicate that in your response. Please reply to jfallon@edmunds.com no later than Thursday, March 3, 2005 with your daytime contact info and a few words about your decision.

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  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    For them not to be concerned about reliability is scary, this coming from a person that loves Audis. This further leads me to believe what I stated years ago, that Audi and VW of America don't have the full attention of their bosses back in Germany. It may not be a problem in Germany or other markets, I'm not so sure about that either, but either way it is a problem in one of their biggest markets...the U.S. Shocking. When looking at Audis I'm so taken by their design and details to the point where the only fly in the buttermilk is that nagging reliability stuff.

    M
  • Pat,

    Sorry. Please if you can remove my previous posting to avoid spam problem. Thank you. And thanks everyone for your response to my message. It is very helpful. Best Regards.
  • ckelly14ckelly14 Posts: 105
    It will be interesting to see how the new A6 stacks-up from a reliability standpoint. The A4 has improved reliability significantly and is currently recommended by Consumer Reports (talk about coming a long way)! I believe the new A6 will be an improvement, but I still believe it will fall far short of Acura/Lexus.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    Didn't mean to suggest that the Audi mgrs and engineers are unconcerned with reliability. We just didn't go deeply into that issue in our discussions, and they certainly didn't volunteer the topic. Since I was a guest at their facility, I was also not going to [non-permissible content removed] about the little frustrations with my own A4 3.0. (And they gave us a lot of little gifts--Audi pens, Audi neckties, little A3 and A6 cars to take home to my kids, free tour of the museum, etc. so I wanted to stay on their good side! 8-)

    I'm overall pleased with my car, but it's weird how the little stuff breaks down. Knock on wood, my car has not had any major problems in 40,000 miles. Causes me to pause before I trade up to the new A6, however.

    Drove the RL yesterday. Very nice. Could use a bit more power and bigger back seat, but this car is impressive. And I wish it didn't look so much like an Accord on the outside.
  • The writer from Business Week called to discuss "Audi" with me today -- we talked about 25 minutes or so. At first I think I heard her jaw hit the table when I told her, since 1977, we have had some 27 Audi cars.

    She got down to asking me, in effect, what I thought was "wrong" with Audis current go to market strategy. She apparently had been told by SOMEONE, not me, I assure you, of bad Audi dealer experiences and about poor Audi reliability.

    For the record, I told her my Audis has been very reliable and my dealer had been "like entering the lobby of a 5 star hotel" and that indeed, Audi of America has been above and beyond a great company to do business with -- we'll see if my praise and my "critique" makes it to the article or if any of my remarks, period, make it to the article.

    I was hard on Audi's MARKETING and high on Audis cars and pricing schemes (this latter point, I underscored "historically" as I am currently frustrated by Audis current pricing schemes). We discussed the new A6 and the upcoming Audi SUV's which I said I thought were both late to market and "almost a why bother" at this point. I did add that having an SUV, however, is part of the ante to play in this game in the US.

    Here is an analysis, that in some measure I shared with the reporter:

    Pretty much all optioned A6 3.2 = $54,770

    2005 BMW 530

    Scenario #1: Equipped as close to an A6 as possible -- $57,620

    Scenario #2: Priced as close as possible to an A6 -- $54,320

    Comparison on Audiusa vs BMWusa:

    Term 36 months
    Miles 15,000 per year

    Cap cost reduction $2,500

    $54,770 Audi leases at $834 per month

    $57,620 BMW leases at $736 per month

    $54,320 BMW leases at $690 per month

    Difference:

    A $57,770 BMW costs $3,528 less to lease

    A $54,320 BMW costs $5,184 less to lease

    =====

    There are two primary factors that make this possible: either the money factor (aka interest) or the residual (how much depreciation).

    I do not care if you are buying or leasing or financing -- you want the car that can be had with the lowest money factor and the highest residual.

    =====

    Audi has squandered away one of its long-term product differentiators -- quattro.

    Audi has been often thought of as a "smart money" car (big bang for buck).

    Audi has through continuous product improvement (and frankly high content, relatively speaking) lost [apparently] its ability to deliver a Premium car at a "not quite" premium price -- price parity, when residuals are factored in, has been attained by and between Audi and BMW (for instance -- and since Audi's "arch rival" is and has been BMW, this is as it should be).

    BMW soon will offer both 3's and 5's in AWD -- they already have X3's and X5's (most folks would call them SUV's even if BMW itself calls them SAV's) -- Audi's "prime" difference is eroding and eroding pretty rapidly.

    Couple all of this with the high line and mid line vehicles from Europe, Japan and the US that can be had with AWD and Audi is in some jeopardy of being seen by those not aware of "the 25th anniversary of quattro" as the "same as everyone else" in that [AWD] regard.

    Audi for many of us has been and perhaps remains in a leadership position.

    Best kept secret in the auto world, from where I sits!

    According to Audis own annual report, it came pretty close to selling 800,000 cars world wide last year (10% in the US, approximately and a somewhat smaller number sold in China, with the remainder selling in Europe and perhaps a dozen or so thousand in Japan) -- less than 30% of these were AWD versions. Yet, here in North America, according to my dealer (this is NOT, that is, from an Audi Published Statistic), over 90% of the Audis sold are quattros.

    But with less than 80,000 (US) Audis sold in 2004 (which was over a 9% decline in sales!) -- most non-Audi owners are not first and foremost aware that Audi = AWD. "Does Audi come to your mind first when thinking of AWD cars?"

    Direct answer, no. Ask the "person on the street" 3/4 of them will respond to the question asked identically over and over "Subaru!"

    Audi of America must not have anyone who is surfin' the net vetting the competition's web site configurators and financing alternatives.

    Just for grins, I maxed out an Infiniti G35x -- it came to a bit over $39,000; then I maxed out an A4 2.0T, it came (equipped as close as I could make it) to a hair under $40,000.

    Then, using just google and 15 minutes of my life, I found test report after test report about the Infiniti and the previous generation (B6) A4 3.0.

    There is one on C&D's website which tests 7 $35,000+ sport sedans -- the A4 comes in 5th! The Infiniti comes in 1st!

    Oh, the ignominy.

    Now, today, a $40,000 A4 has a 200 hp engine and a 50,000 mile warranty. And its Infiniti competitor has a 280 hp engine and a 60,000 mile warranty.

    Ouch!

    Why ouch? Because I am a fan of the brand Audi and they seem to be engineering and building to this very day great cars. They seem to be, broadly speaking (from 25 feet if you squint) priced "mostly appropriately" (speaking of MSRP).

    Yet, Euro Dollar fluctuations cannot be blamed for the totally out of whack pricing if one cares about monthly payments or about residual value (regardless of the way one acquired the car in the first place: cash, financed or leased, that is).

    They have, from where I sit, frittered away 25 years worth of heritage -- "lost opportunity, lost opportunity, lost opportunity!" Even my buddy who just got an X5 remembers the four little angles flying next to the X5 in the commercials -- but the memory of the Audi 5000 CS turbo quattro climbing UP THE SKI JUMP RAMP is long since gone (1986?)

    Sure, Audi has about the youngest products in the segment (but, wait a minute, here comes the new Bimmers, Infinitis, Cadillacs, Chryslers even, not to mention the apparently interesting Passat with 280 HP and many of the Phaeton goodies, and Lexus and Volvo and pretty soon, one would think, even SAAB will wake up!)

    Of course, now Subaru looks like it might be sticking its toe onto the next rung or so up the automotive pecking order ladder.

    All the accolades in the world received by the new and wonderful A6 will not withstand the close scrutiny that even we dummies can muster with google.

    Where was I?

    Oh yea, just a tiny bit frustrated.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,665
    ignominy

    1 : deep personal humiliation and disgrace
    2 : disgraceful or dishonorable conduct, quality, or action

    Am I the only one who goes scrambling for the dictionary after reading Mark’s posts

    Mr. vocabulary (Mr. Lexicon?)

    Very articulate…or…extremely articulate…now I’m second guessing my self…heh
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,244
    you've certainly been given the opportunity to tell the public about the lay of the land regarding Audi

    Whether anyone will listen is an interesting question.

    That Audi has gotten to where it is in today's market at all speaks well for the brand. What's next?

    That said, "you da man." I couldn't imagine a better spokesperson to put forth their cause.

    This from a confirmed buyer who won't touch an Audi (at the moment) to a confirmed lessor (for all the right reasons) who's bonded to the brand.

    When they piss off people like you, they're toast.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    Voluntarily owning 27 Audis in 28 years warrants some kind of special award! You are the Man. I only hope that resale values have treated you kindly over the years.

    I must challenge your comment that Audi has squandered 25 yrs. of heritage. You can argue Audi has been on two different historical paths in the U.S....pre and post the 60 Minutes unintended acceleration debacle that nearly killed its US presence. Over the past 8 yrs, this brand has reinvented itself, enjoying renewed success thanks mostly to the A4. The A6 (and arguably the A8) have ridden the coat tails of its younger brother. I bet a miniscule slice of A4/A6 owners previously drove 4000's, 5000's, 100's, 200's, much less even heard of the GT, Fox, 100LS, etc.

    All the while, Audi's total U.S. market share is what...1.5%? It remains a pretty small fish in a large pond.

    Less than 30% of Audi's total sales are quattro because they sell an awful lot of A2/A3/A4 models with diesel and FWD. Many A6's in Europe are also diesel, as are BMWs. 90% of German taxi cabs are Mercedes E-class cars (many with manual transmissions). What M-B, BMW, and Audi sell in the U.S. are far different than what they sell within their global markets.

    Although C&D was not so kind to the A4 in its recent comparison test, it has chosen the A4/S4 in its "10 Best cars" 2 or 3 times in recent yrs. C&D goes ga-ga for superior power-to-weight ratios, handling, and 0-60 or 1/4 times. Quattro unfortunately adds too much weight to garner C&D's lovefest in these comparisons. The G35 that won the comparo was RWD, and 270+ HP in a lighter car will always trump 220 in the heavier A4.
  • My point about Audi squandering one of its most significant market differentiators was primarily directed at one region: North America. The sales statsistics reported by AoA despite a total increase (worldwide) in Audi sales, would seem to indicate that there is trouble in Ingostadt (or better, Troy, MI):

    "The USA remains the biggest export market with sales of 77,917 cars (down 9.8 percent). China set a new sales record of 64,018 units (up 0.8 percent), while Japan increased its total by 4.7 percent to 13,751 cars."

    The piece that is missing from this quote is:

    "Audi boosted sales in Western Europe (including Germany) by 2.1 percent to 559,428 cars."

    And, more telling:

    "One of the individual markets with the highest growth rate is Great Britain, where Audi sales have more than doubled in just seven years. This market expanded by 11.1 percent to 77,882 units in 2004 alone."

    AoA represents the largest export market (over GB by 35 cars!) and AoA sales declined. This market is the "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere" market. This is, apparently, an extremely tough market. Perhaps @1.5% it IS irrelevant. I don't think Audi execs think this way. This relatively tiny portion of total Audi sales and the even tinier portion that Audi represents of US sales are, indeed, "the mouse, er the flea that roars."

    My contentions and conclusions related, "only," to the North American market. 2004 was a good year for Audi -- but a decline of 9.8% for AoA in 2004 cannot possibly be seen as a good thing.

    And, although I grant and understand that the A4/S4 (and the A6's too and NOW the A8) have been placed on several "best" lists, this did not propel the sales. Indeed, even with hugely attractive deals on its then available line (here in the US) sales declined 9.8%. Against a backdrop of known new product? Yea, sure; but, this was not only true in the US -- those in the UK certainly knew of new Audis in the pipeline. Sales there were UP 11%!

    Audi certainly seems to be a globally successful car company. I sing the praises (mostly) of their products. I simply pointed out the 7 $35K sedan comparo where the A4 came in 5th and the Infiniti 1st. My point was not to say "see the cars truly are not what they're cracked up to be." My point was to say what can be found out by googling -- and I do maintain that those potential first time Audi buyers (and younger buyers who know little to nothing about acceleration, Unintended or otherwise) may access such data points and arrive at the conclusion that Audis are "all yack and no shack, all hat and no cattle," or some other phrase suggesting the emperor has no clothes.

    I limit my critique, analysis and disappointment with the current iteration of Audi (of America) primarily to Audi of America and specifically to MARKETING.

    Others on this erudite forum may challenge my assertion that Audis do not have a significant reliability issue. Some may even believe that I am frustrated because the current Audi lease program seems out of touch with reality (overall market declines of Auto sales, leap to mind and BMW, Mercedes and Infiniti [just to name three] lease programs that seem to suggest that Audis are overpriced and/or depreciate "faster than a speeding bullet.") Ok, I am frustrated.

    My concerns, to peat and repeat, have much more to do with the phrase "perception is reality" -- this is, at least superficially, a marketing challenge. Audi of America's marketing machine needs a tune-up.

    In my above example (lease prices comparing Audi and BMW), I am not suggesting I would lease the BMW (I would NOT have the current RWD 5 series, regardless of the apparent attractiveness of the lease deal -- and the concomitant assumption that this must mean Audis don't hold their value very well at all.) What I am suggesting is that the coveted customer class is "young" (younger than I -- age 53); well educated (degreed at least one -- at least I pass that qualifier) and "upper middle class [a 6 figure household income]" (as the man said, "my girlfriend broke up with me, there's milk and cookies at the house and there's a new Pousette Dart album on the stereo -- 2 out of 3 ain't bad!")

    Audi wants my employees as customers -- I'd like to think they would like to keep me -- but I may be yesterday's news.

    The folks who I work with are in their 30's make high five figures to low six figures and some have MBA's (from name brand schools) -- these are the folks Audi wants to have as "conquest" customers. These are the "young" men and women who will have fully vetted their short list of cars (which, truth be told, do include the Audi and BMW and the Acura RL and TL, etc.) and when they see the monthly payments, they will simply stop looking at the Audi when they can have a new Bimmer for a lot less.

    Hey, its America -- the folks I work with are all too imbued with the notion that all things being similar, price wins.

    Audi doesn't -- currently -- seem to be cognizant of this.

    Remember Audi has offered 25 years of quattro, but that differentiation will be, where was I???

    And, Audi was (past tense) budget premium -- and, currently, that moniker would go to BMW.

    I am being somewhat jingoistic in these musings -- as I am only speaking of Audi in the North American market. They, thus far, don't need my help in the rest of the world -- where they're doing just fine, thank you very much and have a nice day.

    Hence, to repeat, my frustration.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    Mark-you raise many good points. I feel your pain.

    The U.S. is indeed a tough and fickle market. Way too many SUVs and trucks, but that's unfortunately what Americans inexplicably adore. The ability to sit up high like a king (or queen), yak on our phones, and go to Home Depot once a month in our 10 mpg uber tanks. So sad that almost none of us can figure out a manual transmission if our lives depended on it...

    Audi certainly has its issues, but I believe BMW and M-B are feeling similar pain. And VW, Volvo and Saab have also got to be writhing these days. But so are the Big Three...and let's not even get into Mitsubishi's serious issues.

    The auto market is glutted with too many marquees and too many unnecessary models. No question there will be a thinning of the herd. I don't believe Audi will be a victim, but I predict in 10 years, at least 3 major brands that we know of today will be a distant memory.

    The Asian makers are relentless, and it will only get more painful for those that can't cut the mustard in the American consumer's eyes. And now, the Chinese, Korean, and (South and East)Indian consumers are beginning to flex more muscle in both their home markets, as well here in the U.S. Audi must figure out a way to appeal to them, and they still have an opportunity and edge, IMO. Ford/GM/Chrysler already realize it, but it's too late for them. Their collective market share will continue to slip for years to come.
  • I agree with almost everything you wrote -- but one.

    There are, apparently, NOT ENOUGH choices -- the market keeps saying "I want it my way." There are amost 200 more car models available here than in the recent last century. More models and car brands are in the pipeline.

    The market wants mass customization; and, there will always be room at the top. For all I know, there MAY even be room at the bottom (although I am not as confident of that).

    It will certainly be interesting when the new Passat AWD nice V6 grunt and equipped with a 106" wheelbase and quite a few lux trappings (from the Phaeton parts bin) hits the streets. VW, the new "budget" luxury. It could happen, if the nagging dealership problems were erased.

    Anyway -- the A6, today, is at the top of the list (its in all the papers). That does carry some weight. Competition from BMW and Infiniti and Lexus and even VW will do us all good (including Audi).

    Oh, and I stand corrected -- the percentage of North American Audis that are quattro is "less than" not more than 90%. In any case it is about triple what it is elsewhere.

    Audi needs to not only be the "me too" AWD car, it needs to tell people it has been in that technology space for 25 years.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    We are getting way off topic on the A6, but we can agree to disagree on whether there are too many options in the automotive market. I firmly believe the pendulum has shifted to the point there are WAY TOO MANY models and choices, and it is inevitable that there must be a significant retrenting and many of the auto manufacturers are in for much pain in the next 2-3 yrs.

    In virtually every category (SUVS to pickups to luxury to near-luxury to wannabe-luxury to midsize to entry-level to hybrids to sports cars), the consumer is or will be faced with unprecedented choices. But the market simply cannot sustain this.

    We are on the heels of record-breaking auto sales between 1999 and 2004. Average car prices have risen dramatically in the past 5 yrs thanks to safety, technology and cutting edge designs. Leases are no longer the value they used to represent. (And in spite of leases which force people to replace every 2-4 yrs, the average age of a car on the road is pushing 7+ yrs today, and getting longer due to greater reliability.)

    Americans are in debt to their ears. The stock market is in for flat or down years, and inflation and interest rates are both headed up. Tort reform and medical cost mgmt doesn't bode well for lawyers and doctors, and customer empowerment has changed the role of realtors and investment professionals (ie: fewer luxury cars to be bought). Hopefully the war will end in the next 12-24 mos.(???)

    It's a very tenuous cocktail, and it doesn't bode well for the auto market.

    Just my opinion. But for those who can afford nice cars, I believe it will be a buyer's market. As much as car makers want to avoid incentives, they will be a necessity to move cars.

    Bottom line: A few auto brands will go out of business or merge in the next decade.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,244
    Very well put, Chris.

    A cogent argument indeed.

    It'll be interesting to watch it all play out.
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