Audi Gears Up to Axe Half Its Lineup

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Simplicity means luxury under Ingolstadt's new chief executive.

Choosing which car to buy can be a bewildering process. And for one luxury automaker at least, that's the opposite of the upscale experience it aims to deliver to its customers. So it's drastically streamlining its lineup to make the process easier, and in the process, more "premium."

Audi new CEO's Bram Schot revealed to Autocar plans to reduce the complexity of its lineup by nearly half. And it's already well on its way, having reduced the number of model variants in some markets by 27 percent this year compared to where it stood last summer.

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Audi

"It's very hard decision-making. We've done it, and we're down 27% so that's huge," said Schot, but "27% is not the end, the end will be 40 or 45%. We think it's the new premium, it's simplified premium."

As it stands, most of Audi's models are offered in the United States with only one powertrain option (short of S/RS performance variants) – including the A5 family, the A7 Sportback, the A8 sedan, the TT coupe/roadster, the R8 supercar, and the Q3, Q5, Q8, and e-Tron crossovers. We could soon see similar approaches applied to streamline the remaining A3, A4, and A6 lines as well.

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Beyond powertrain combinations, though, Audi's streamlining campaign spell the end of certain models and variants. "It's not only models but variations," added Schot. "Do we want to have a normal saloon and a sportback? We're discussing this currently for a specific model." In between the A4 and A6 sedans, Audi slots the A5 Sportback. And alongside the A8 sedan, the A7 Sportback.

It also recently discontinued the convertible and e-Tron PHEV versions of the A3, and has been rumored to be merging the four-seat A5 and two-seat TT convertibles into a single model line.

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