The Audi TT has been around for 20 years, and its original and bold design probably doesn’t get enough credit for helping put Audi back on the map in America. But as we all know, sporty coupe sales aren’t what they used to be, and Audi’s parent company the Volkswagen Group’s main priority is the electric future. As a result, the TT is on the way out, the R8 supercar might be too, and the A8 flagship sedan may get an electric variant too.
That’s from Bloomberg today. Reporter Christoph Rauwald covered Audi’s annual shareholders meeting in Germany, and there officials announced the end of the TT and changes to its lineup as electrification becomes job number one:
Sales of electrified vehicles, which include hybrids, are set to account for 40% of deliveries by then, Audi said Thursday at its annual shareholders meeting in Neckarsulm, Germany. “We’re shedding old baggage,” Chief Financial Officer Alexander Seitz said. Because of tighter emissions regulations, “combustion cars are getting more expensive in the medium-term, and electric cars are getting cheaper.”
This was confirmed in the transcript of the meeting, which you can read here:
In addition, we now decide at an earlier stage which ideas from our innovation exchanges we want to implement – and which not. Because focusing also includes leaving things out. The Audi TT, for example. For two decades, we have had this young, emotive sports car in our product range: as a coupe and as a roadster. We are exhibiting the special model Audi TT Quantum Gray Edition here today at the Annual General Meeting. With it, we are starting online sales for new vehicles. In a few years, we will replace the TT with a new emotive model in the same price range: with an electric car.
Here’s what was said about the R8, whose future seems rather uncertain:
As I said, focusing also means leaving out. For example, the R8 sports car. Do we need a successor with a combustion engine? Does this fit in with our vision? The discussion will give us an answer to that.
As we’ve reported before, Audi is locked in a bitter struggle with rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz as they all vie for the top-selling luxury brand slot, all while dumping money into R&D for electrification while trying to figure out what the future of “mobility” looks like—and how to make money from it. BMW’s board isn’t happy with the state of things, Mercedes’ parent company is losing its top boss this week and VW and Audi are still paying the tab for the diesel cheating scandal. Additionally, Audi’s global sales are down nearly 6 percent since the beginning of the year thanks in part to the ongoing slump in China. Tough times all around.
As for the TT, it’s been around since 1998 and helped bring the automaker out of the sales doldrums and into the 2000s when it really found its footing globally. But sales haven’t been particularly strong in recent years—Audi moved just 1,300 of them last year in the U.S., about a third of the historic highs in the 2000s.
Audi will replace the TT with a new electric car “in a few years,” it said. “There will be lots of things that we won’t do any more in the future, or things that we do less,” Audi Chief Executive Officer Bram Schot said. “We focus maximum resources on our key projects.”
The story says Audi plans five fully electric cars and seven plug-in hybrid cars within two years, before moving to 30 electric cars by 2025. Getting there, however, will require a huge investment up front.