Expect more EVs to replace Audi's combustion cars in the future.
In the US, the A3 represents Audi's entry-level model, but the German automaker sells an even smaller A1 city car in Europe. However, during an interview with Autocar Audi boss Markus Duesmann hinted that the A1 could be living on borrowed time.
Speaking before the reveal of the e-tron GT, Duesmann said a successor to the premium supermini is unlikely to happen. "We do discuss what we do with the small segments. In the A1 segment, we have some other brands [in the Volkswagen Group] who are active there and very successful, with very high production, so we do question the A1 at the moment," he said.
If the A1 gets discontinued, this will mean the Q2 subcompact SUV will take its place as Audi's smallest model on sale as crossovers continue to dominate. Other factors that could lead to the A1's demise include the high costs of electrification and low profit margins on small cars.
However, this doesn't mean Audi will abandon the supermini segment completely. According to the publication, Audi's Artemis division is working on a successor to the A2 supermini, which ended production back in 2005. It will reportedly be revived as an electric city car inspired by the futuristic AI:ME Concept that debuted at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show. Artemis didn't provide any technical details, but the concept was powered by a single electric motor producing 170 horsepower and a 65-kWh battery.
Since the concept was around the same size as the A3 Sportback, there's a slim chance it could be sold in the US. Audi hasn't decided if it will retain the A2 name, however.
To prevent overlapping with Audi's upcoming EVs, Duesmann hinted that more combustion models could suffer the same fate as the A1. "We have to cut back. As we look at Q4 e-tron [SUV], we have a model where we have similar combustion-engine-powered models, and certainly we don't want to have the same portfolio electrically," he said. "We make purpose-built electric cars because we can offer more functionality [that way], so we will certainly cut back our combustion portfolio in the next 10 years. We have to and we will. As we have so many synergies in the Volkswagen Group, maybe we can have a few more models than others."