Audi's sales boss says the brand isn't well established enough in the US to support sales of small cars. Peter Schwarzenbauer also ruled out bringing the upcoming A1 to the US market for that same reason.

Audi's sales boss says the brand isn't well established enough in the US to support sales of small cars.

Peter Schwarzenbauer, responsible for global sales and marketing at Audi, also ruled out bringing the upcoming A1 to the US market for that same reason.

Audi has spent the better part of the last 15 years successfully building its brand to compete against its chief rivals, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. But Schwarzenbauer doesn't believe the brand can easily go down market in the US like the 3 German premium brands have done in Europe. Over the last decade, those automakers have introduced smaller models such as the Mercedes A and B Class, the BMW 1-series and Audi with the A1, A2 (discontinued) and A3 models. Schwarzenbauer also ruled out a sub-brand like BMW has with MINI and Mercedes has with Smart.

Automotive News has previously reported that Audi dealers were initially keen on the A1 until they found out the car would come with a price tag of 25,000 US dollars, while they were thinking more along the lines of an 18,000 dollar starting price.

Of course, given current exchange rates, it is simply not viable to sell small, European-produced cars in the US. And the US consumer is still resistant to paying a lot for small vehicles.

Apparently, Schwarzenbauer thinks so too.

"...if you look at the real numbers [MINI and Smart sales in the US], it's not huge volumes. I'm not so sure yet we really see a trend to small cars in the United States," Schwarzenbauer told Automotive News.

 

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Audi sales boss rules out A1 for the U.S.