Audi Is Not Ready To Give Up On Sedans

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And the sales prove it.

Passenger car sales have been on a steady decline in the United States as consumers shift their preferences towards SUVs and crossover utility vehicles. That much is clear. So it's no wonder why many automakers have responded by shifting their priorities aways from building sedans for the US market. But perhaps this trend is simply a symptom of automakers not building sedans that are good enough.

As testament to this theory, Audi recently released a trio of brand new sedans, and based on 2019 sales figures, all three had a great year, indicating that sedans aren't completely dead yet.

Speaking with Autoblog at CES 2020, Audi's sales and marketing boss, Hildegard Wortmann, pointed out that global demand for sedans is, actually, still high. "My impression is that there's a little bit of a renaissance in certain parts of the world more than others," she explained. Just looking at the US sales numbers, she has a point.

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The recently-updated Audi A6, Audi A7, and Audi A8 posted sales increases of 69 percent, 29 percent, and 85 percent respectively in their first full calendar year on sale. SUVs and crossovers still made up 61 percent of Audi's total sales volume in the US market, but the sales figures clearly show an audience that was holding out for the company's updated sedan models in 2019.

We have no doubt that crossovers and SUVs will remain popular pending any unforeseen increases in fuel prices, but Audi isn't ready to abandon sedans. Moreover, the German brand will continually monitor sales to see if sedans can regain a sales edge over SUVs and crossovers.

"I'm glad we have both," Wortmann said, referring to Audi's plan to keep selling sedans and SUVs.

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As for coupes and convertibles, sales weren't so strong for Audi in 2019. Wortmann believes building coupes and convertibles isn't key to attracting buyers as much as building a car that's cool regardless of the body style. "I don't think customers say, 'I want a coupe or a convertible.' They see a desirable design, and they say 'I want one of those,'" she explained. "Coupes and convertibles are highly emotional cars, so they will always have their right of existence. People are still highly emotional about cars. Some walk around and say, 'People don't like cars anymore, it's an anti-car society.' Sorry, but I don't see that."

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