Audi sacrifices TT and R8 on electric altar
At the general assembly of VW daughter and premium car manufacturer Audi, CEO Bram Schot has announced that two of Audi’s iconic sports cars, the TT and the R8, will disappear from the portfolio soon.
The recently appointed Dutchman wants to cut costs in order to be able to spend 14 billion euro in 2023 in electrification. “To be able to focus, we have to scrap things”, he says. “The Audi TT for example.”
“We sold this young, emotive sports car for 20 years. We will replace it by a new emotive car in the same price category but that will be electric”, he added. Also Audi’s so-called super sportscar, the R8, will be hatched.
2018 was a fairly disastrous year for Audi. It had to pay a 800 million euro fine for its involvement in Dieselgate. Apart from that it was ill-prepared for the WLTP emission test transition.
Audi performed far worse than competitors BMW and Mercedes and this seems to continue in the first half of 2019. In April Audi sold 13% cars less than the year before.
2019 has to be the year of restructuring and transition says Schot. He has started a joint venture with car rental specialist Sixt about car-sharing. At the same time Audi wants to have 10 hybrid and 20 fully electric models by 2025.
All this investments need cost cutting in other places. Lately the TT isn’t selling so well any more, while the R8 super sports car never was a big commercial success. According to Belgian importer D’Ieteren they sold 250 TT cars and 10 R8 during the whole of 2018.
Audi now seeks to combine electrical propulsion and sportiness. Technically there is not really a problem, electric cars can be quickest off the mark without a problem. But a diehard sports car fan wants also the noise and that is absent in an EV.
Maybe new competitions like Formula E (a Formula 1 type of competition but raced with electric one-seaters on street circuits) can help. Audi has already engaged itself in this kind of racing.