Audi Considers the Small A1 for the U.S. Market

Nov. 8, 2007: Source – AutoWeek

Audi A1 Minicar

As the price of oil continues to sail upwards, the notion of smaller cars becomes more appealing to American buyers. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler is the latest auto executive to acknowledge this need in the U.S. market, and the vehicle he is thinking of is Audi’s new A1 mini-car. With the production version of the vehicle to arrive in late 2009, Stadler states, “There is absolutely a potential for this kind of vehicle in America.”

Despite the lackluster U.S. sales of Audi’s small 5-door hatchback, the A3, Stadler is steadfast in his thinking that the market will continue to shift, making room for Audi to vie for a piece of the upscale small car market in the U.S. “When A1 production begins in late 2009”, Stadler asserts, “the U.S. market could be ripe for a luxury car in the B segment.” The A1’s most direct competition would be the stylish and hip Mini Cooper, which is heavily targeted toward females and urban professional-types. These are people who want a status symbol, but also value the efficiency of a smaller car. It’s obviously too early to speculate on economy numbers for the A1, but as a point of reference, the Mini Cooper has an EPA rating of 22 city and 30 highway.

For the A1 to be a viable export to the U.S., Stadler cites low labor costs as the key. There’s also the idea of building the car on American soil, which could be possible with Volkswagen currently scouting sites for a U.S. assembly plant.

Moving even further to the greener side of motoring, Audi unveiled a hybrid-concept version of the luxury subcompact, the A1 Metroproject Quattro, at last month’s Tokyo show.


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  • Neil D

    Early in 2008, BMW will start selling the similarly sized car, albeit not a hatchback, the 1 series coupe. It seem AUDI is not the only upscale european car company realizing the potential of offering smaller cars as the price of gasoline climbs. Interestingly enough, these cars don’t get exceptional gas mileage, but by virtue of being physically smaller, they create the impression of saving fuel. But I suppose every MPG may count when gas is $4 or more a gallon.

    Just like the Audi A1, the BMW 128i is expected to be in the range of 22/30 city/hwy mileage, which is good for an ICE car, but nothing spectacular compared to hybrids. And although I think the Mini Cooper will definitely be an A1 competitor, I suspect the BMW 1 series will be more of a true competitor.

    Finally with the falling value of the US Dollar vs. the Euro, European car companies are flirting with danger by selling smaller cars with lower MSRPs. Building the A1 on US soil would help alleviate this problem to a degree for AUDI.

    Overall I am happy to see some smaller luxury cars headed our way. It challenges the sterotype that luxury has to = large.

  • Timothy Jepson

    I would like a hybrid of this auto bil if you are looking for a test driver. I live in the desert makiing trips down to the valley. It’s a beautiful me at or call me at 760-3290852. Thank you, Dr. Timothy Jepson

  • Nicky C

    I think they should add more small cars to the US. People would like them for saving the environment, gas prices, and parking easier.