Audi's Smallest Model Heads To The Graveyard

Industry News / Comments

Say goodbye to the supermini America never got.

The first-generation Audi A1 supermini launched back in 2010. Like its Volkswagen Polo cousin, it was never sold in North America. Most didn't care until the outrageous and limited production high-performance A1 quattro arrived in 2012. Just 333 units of that pocket rocket were built, making it an instant collectible. A second generation A1 arrived for 2018 and, once again, wasn't welcome on our side of the pond. Those hoping for another Quattro variant are likely going to be disappointed. In fact, A1 fans, in general, won't like this.

Automotive News Europe has confirmed with Audi CEO Markus Duesmann that there won't be a third-gen A1 when he was asked about upcoming emissions regulations.

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"A lot will depend on the final Euro 7 target," he said. "We know that offering combustion engines in the smaller segments in the future will be pretty difficult because the costs will go up. Therefore, we won't have a successor to the A1. If the new Euro 7 rules are not too harsh, it will allow us to invest more in e-mobility."

An inquiry regarding the future of the Audi A3, which very much is sold in the US (the new RS3 just debuted) was not answered by the executive. The four-ringed brand confirmed last month it's done with developing combustion engines because of those aforementioned regulations. An all-electric future is the eventual goal though combustion engines will probably stick around until 2033. Hybrids and plug-in hybrids will continue to serve as the go-betweens.

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Electrifying small cars, like the A1, are not only unprofitable but also don't fit into Duesmann's vision for the luxury brand. He's currently turning Audi into the Volkswagen Group's technology powerhouse, a direct rival to Tesla's R&D division. The super-secret Project Artemis autonomous EV is due to arrive in 2025. Larger electric vehicles, like the e-tron SUV and e-tron GT, are already on sale and this trend will continue.

Which powertrains are offered will also depend on region. The US and China, for example, are expected to be different than Europe where "combustion engines will account for less than 20 percent" by around 2030. Duesmann didn't state exactly when the A1 will be retired though we suspect Audi intends to let it survive until the end of its previously planned product cycle.

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Source Credits: Automotive News Europe

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