another take on audi's future
smullen at UDel.Edu
Thu Mar 25 13:16:46 EST 2004
When I bought my first Audi in 1992, the world and especially the
automobile business seemed a whole lot simpler than today. Audi has, of
course, recovered magnificently from its self-inflicted unintended
acceleration wounds. Across the board, it makes one of the best product
lines, while many other manufacturers have recently come to believe what
Audi has known for over 20 years you cant beat fulltime AWD.
But Audis future is problematic because it is, to a great extent, no
longer the master of its own destiny. It is getting squeezed at both
ends and in between by its VAG stablemates. The Japanese, notably
Lexus, are making some phenomenal products. Volvo and Jaguar have come
back from near-death experiences. Regardless of what one may think of
BMW and Mercedes, they continue to outsell Audi in the most important
market, North America.
A bad decision here and a bad decision there in the VAG boardroom,
global currency problems, another oil crisis, worrisome quality control
problems and that familiar f*ck you attitude of AoA and its dealer
network could conspire to make the next few years very difficult ones
for our favorite marque. Stay tuned.
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