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Why They Didn't Build the Avus
In a message dated 97-07-31 11:27:47 EDT, you write:
<< Perhaps, but that is with developement of the W-12 engine involved. Were
they to have built it with an S version of the 4.2 V8 and a lesser twin
turbo 30V V6 the car may have been closer to the A8's price tag of $65K.
That is in the neighborhood of the 911 and much below Ferrari. The only
question would be numbers, that's hard to guess, and cannibalization of the
911 to some degree would have happened at anything under 100K. There are
too many people on the board of VWAG with Porsche blood in them to allow
that to go to market. Besides, it's such a gamble, it's easier to show why
not to build it. >>
The W12 would actually have been only a small part of the cost, relatively
speaking. There is absolutely no financially sound chance that the AVUS
could have been built at a price anywhere near the $65,000 point. That figure
is off by a factor of ten, at least, even without the W12 development
investment Given the very limited market for exotics, the basic cost of
vehicle development would have put the price at around one million dollars,
if Audi was to make any attempt at cost recovery. And without some kind of
exotic engine to complement the package, why bother?
People might argue that it should have been done as an "image car,"
regardless of cost. These people rarely run car companies (and when they do,
they often ruin car companies). This would be the "strategic benefit of
losing huge sums of money approach." There aren't too many successful
examples of this strategy, and there are plenty of costly failures. You have
to add to that the fact that the economy in Germany in 1991, and Audi's own
financial situation then, was declining. Which CEO do you think would have
the gall to sign up for a huge financial risk at a time when the whole
industry, and his own company, was in the toilet?
As to the "people" on the VWAG board with Porsche blood, there's only one
today; Dr. Piech. And he wasn't on the VWAG board when the AVUS was first
For an interesting recountng of the development of the A8, and some
background on the Spyder and AVUS, you should look for a copy of Juergen
Lewandowski's book "Audi A8." It was written with the cooperation of Audi
AG, so you have to be mindful of the party line, but it's a good background
book on Audi's involvement with the whole concept of aluminum cars. The
publisher is Delius Klasing Verlag, Bielefeld, Germany.