[urq] Audi parts for older cars

Pasqualoni, James E james.pasqualoni at gs.com
Wed Aug 2 13:05:38 EDT 2006

It's hard to argue most of your points from an economic perspective.
However, is Merc using a classic 280 SL in their attempts to conjure up
a level of mystique that is intended to draw in new car sales?  I think
the point is, Audi is plenty comfortable using ur-quattros, sport
quattros, S1's, whatever to hock their new cars, but they are doing all
they can to NOT support these classic Audi statement automobiles.

It's just as hypocritical as can be.

-----Original Message-----
From: urq-bounces at audifans.com [mailto:urq-bounces at audifans.com] On
Behalf Of colin cohen cco
Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 12:38 PM
To: urq at audifans.com
Subject: [urq] Audi parts for older cars

I have been reading the posts on this for a few weeks now and have
noticed that there is one thing missing in all of the rants and raves:
there is a certain set of economics associated with supporting old cars
that are not usually affordable by either the customer or the OEM.
Firstly it takes a geographic concentration of vehicles to justify
holding parts to support them and a volume demand over a predictable
period.  No one I know has studied the number of Urqs on the road, on
which continents but it is clear to me from my 30 years in aerospace
that there are relatively few of the Urqs still producing dealer
initiated parts demands in the context of production requirements.

Once a vehicle goes out of production, the economics of building parts
for spares use, becomes very hard to support, absent premium pricing.
Look at Porsche 928 parts or Mercedes 280 SEC (350 or 6.0 models) in the
same context.  Most of the cost of these parts is in the set-up and test
of the tooling needed to make the parts.  Over time this tooling gets
lost or wears out and the sub contractors who make the parts for OEMs
require substantial up front investments to go back into the fabrication
business for these parts.  However few OEMs have any idea what the
demand was (that depleted their stocks) or could be if the parts were
available at any range of prices.  That some manufacturers still get the
parts made without this knowledge is wonderful for those owners who may
think nothing of paying $2,000 for a distributor cap but I doubt that
even at that price the OEM is making any money on its design, tooling,
fabrication, production and distribution costs given the tiny volumes
associated with these parts.

Then you get to cosmetic items, which vary between the different areas
the a car was originally sold.  That Audi is dumping, selling off or
otherwise getting out of an inventory of RH drive Urq components has to
be an economic necessity in the context of the almost non-existent
demand outside of the UK.  Of course where the Urq shares parts with
other models the viability issues change but the volumes (as compared
with Toyotas or Fords) are still miniscule.  Some on this list and
elsewhere may believe that they could develop, engineer, fabricate and
sell parts for the Urq at what they think is a reasonable price - and if
so why cant Audi?  To them I would say that their cost structure is a
tiny proportion of the "employment-for-life-nanny-state" of the German
Republic and if their product liability risk is small enough, they
should go ahead and do it.  For Audi to take risk on putting their name
on a "garage produced" product would be something its management would
be unlikely to do for anything except liability free competition use.
Certainly not for US distribution where the plaintiff's bar has already
had one major bite on the Audi apple.

In conclusion is would say this to all of us Urq owners - we are in the
unfortunate position of having a car that is neither a collectible nor a
commodity.  If the numbers on the road decline to a level that the car
is genuinely rare (no idea of the numbers for this) then the few
remaining owners may be motivated to support a cottage industry to build
parts the way the Ferrari, Masers, and even older production cars like
Alfas or Euro Fords are supported.  By then the Urq will have reached
"Vintage" status (at 25 years), which will enable it for events that for
the moment keeps it out of the possible collectible status.  Until then
we are just part of the gearhead community owning a vehicle recognized
by very few for its unique capabilities.  They will become more and more
expensive to maintain (like all cars other than some 'Merican Iron) and
eventually may disappear for lack of economic viability in either our
hands or those with the means but not the interest to own one.  This has
happened to many cars and while its a pity that Audi does not seem to
care whether or not it occurs to the Urq/80/100/200, they have more
important (to Audi, VW and its shareholders) matters on their plate in
the context of the extraordinary efforts that have to be made to support
small volumes of non-collectible vehicles.  That Mercedes does this, is
remarkable but I am not sure that anyone on this list could live with
those prices.  I just read of a 280 SL that was rebuilt at a cost of
$100,000.  It was sold at that price too but its market value is around
$80,000 in Condition 1.  The Condition 3 cars can bought for $50,000 but
a restoration is till going to cost north of $50,000 and few will do

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