[Author Prev][Author Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Author Index][Thread Index]
Audi: Dream Line Up
- To: QUATTRO@coimbra.ans.net
- Subject: Audi: Dream Line Up
- From: RUTLEDGE_R@a1.wdc.com
- Date: Thu, 30 Jan 1997 19:05:00 -0800 (PST)
- A1-type: MAIL
- Alternate-recipient: prohibited
- Disclose-recipients: prohibited
- Hop-count: 1
- Importance: normal
- MR-Received: by mta WDUS04; Relayed; Thu, 30 Jan 1997 19:42:29 -0800
- Posting-date: Thu, 30 Jan 1997 19:41:00 -0800 (PST)
- Priority: normal
- Sender: email@example.com
- X400-MTS-identifier: [;92249103107991/1621674@WDUSA]
There have been recent posts about why Audi doesn't bring more of the neat
stuff to North America.
I've only recently subscribed to this daily barrage of Audi emails, but
I've seen enough to be very impressed at the body of knowledge this group
has. With this complement, I want to start a new thread regarding some of
Audi's constraints and how we can get the neatest possible stuff:
1. Timing: I understand the US EPA/DOT require testing
prior to importing cars. This must lead
to timing windows that Audi must hit with
the proper configurations, else they miss
the model years. For instance, does it make
sense to produce the 12V 2.8 in the A4 for
November-January, then drop in the 30V 2.8
for the balance of the model year??
2. Supply: If Audi opened up all markets (i.e. Germany,
UK, North America, etc) to the 30V 2.8, could
they build this many heads? They obviously have
manufacturing tooling to build the 12V 2.8 and
different tooling to build the 30V 2.8. If they
don't have enough to build 100% of the volume
as 30V, then they have to build some 12V and
then allocate where it goes. Unfortunately it
looks like the US is down at the bottom of the
list. Now Audi US can't out muscle Audi Europe,
thus Audi Europe gets the cool stuff first.
Think of it this way.....if Audi is selling every
car they make.....why waste the time and effort
to create more models for North America?
I challenge you to find out what Audi is capable
of producing at their various plants (engines, heads,
3. Platforms: This is the key to modern manufacturing.
I know that VW/Audi (Piech) now subscribes
to this philosophy. The idea is not to
build 10K different configurations (SKUs)
using 100M different parts. The concept
is to have common parts amongst the models.
This reduces design, parts, and manufacturing
cost. This is why the new A4 chassis is being
used with minor mods for the new VW Passat
and the new A6. As an example, Toyota
is only building the new Camry in the 4 door
style...no 2 door coupe...no station wagon.
They probably did this because >95% of the
demand was for the 4 door....thus they couldn't
financially justify the development/manufacturing
expense of the low volume models. This is a
good business practice.
So, chances are the future will hold fewer configurations (chassis, engine,
transmission, suspension). Audi must build to the target market they are
going after. What would you all define as the Audi target market? I think
of the following for other automakers:
GM: The features the average guy wants at a low price.
Ford: Better design, quality, features than GM, higher price.
Honda: Efficiency, reliability, quality.
Toyota: The features the average guy wants, but with reliablity
and quality at a higher price.
Mercedes: Awesome quality for those with high disposable income.
BMW: A performance/sporty Mercedes
Volvo: Safe, long-lasting sedans/wagons.
If you follow this drift.....where does Audi position themselves relative
to Lexus (Toyota), Acura (Honda), Infiniti (Nissan), Mercedes, BMW, Volvo,
Saab and the other autos in the price range they target? I think a clue is
to compare Audi with Suburu....as I understand Suburu will sell >200K cars
in the US in 1997 (true?/false?).
The only way out of this I see is for Audi to start a more active parts
program, ala Mopar, that allows the Audi fanatics (i.e. the Quattro list)
to buy the fun toys (valves, turbos, suspension, brakes) to fix up their
cars. I don't know how the EPA will like this! Is this possible? This
way Audi offers 2-3 trim levels for each platform, and the fanatics can buy
$5-10K worth of parts to trim out the car to their preference. If this
stuff needs certification, maybe they spend the $$$ to certify the parts
with the EPA, but not build the models. Dealers make more money turning
their inventory...not sitting on 10K different configurations. Let the
Dealers make money selling 2-3 trim levels and then $5-$10K in parts/labor.
Could this happen?
If we all really like Audi, lets help them sell more cars and make more
money in North America. If we become a bigger percentage of their
worldwide volumes, we will speak with a larger voice when it comes to their
I think they need to have the right product at the right time at the right
price for the right people. Audi's thinking relative to the A4 2.8 and the
A4 1.8T is right on, i.e. where they priced it. AoA needs to lobby harder
for America getting the neat 30V 2.8....and should get the support given
their awesome sales growth in 1996.
I think there were 15M cars/trucks sold in North America in 1996. 1%
markeshare would be 150K. If Audi sold 20K cars, this is slighly above
So, I challenge you all:
"How does Audi profitably sell 150K cars in America"
This might be too ambitous, thus perhaps lets target 50K.
86 CGT - Commemorative Series - owned since new.
I work at Western Digital. We make 20M Hard Disk Drives annually.