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German giant gets in gear: Audi is driving towards an electric future


On the daybreak of the Eighties they heralded the beginning of the golden period of Audi because the then moderately area of interest and little-known German automotive producer started its fast ascent.

The Reinhardts had been a fictional German household who appeared in a well-known UK TV advert that helped put Audi on the map. 

Lithe, tanned and super-cool, they had been proven enjoyable by the pool of their sunny mountain vacation villa in Spain.

Energized: Audi's e-tron GT quattro. The German brand plans to spend some €18bn on electrification and hybridisation between 2022 and 2026

Energized: Audi’s e-tron GT quattro. The German model plans to spend some €18bn on electrification and hybridisation between 2022 and 2026

Two different German households, we’re informed, had been much less lucky. The fatigued Schmidts, of their moderately ‘gradual and noisy’ automotive, wanted ‘one other vacation to recover from this one’. 

The Muellers, driving ‘a giant thirsty automotive’ had been ‘most likely at a petroleum station someplace between Munich and Marbella’.

However the good Reinhardts, driving a brand new Audi 100, had no such issues as they frolicked by the pool.

And because the sardonic narrator — veteran actor Geoffrey Palmer — jokes: ‘The ethical of the story is, if you wish to get to the seaside earlier than the Germans, you’d higher purchase an Audi. ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’, as they are saying in Germany.’ 

The dry British humour — and an odd German catchphrase — helped convey Audi to prominence.

Brilliant concept

This catchphrase was the brainchild of promoting guru Sir John Hegarty of company BBH, who noticed the slogan — roughly translated as ‘a leap ahead via know-how’ — on an outdated poster at Audi’s Ingolstadt manufacturing facility. However the advert almost did not occur.

The British sense of humour and light-hearted references to Germans making beelines to be the primary to reach on the Spanish seashores did not ballot effectively. 

Concept: Audi's idea for an electric city car model called the Urbansphere which was designed for use in traffic-dense Chinese megacities,

Idea: Audi’s concept for an electrical metropolis automotive mannequin referred to as the Urbansphere which was designed to be used in traffic-dense Chinese language megacities,

Spacious: The Urbansphere offers the largest interior space of any Audi to date

Spacious: The Urbansphere gives the biggest inside house of any Audi to this point

Fortunately, Audi bosses held their nerve and the advert aired.

And it is fortunate it did, as Audi is the premium model powerhouse within the big Volkswagen Group. 

And following latest restructuring, Audi is now main the electrification cost.

Future estate: The A6 Avant e-tron is set to cost between £60,000-£70,000 when it goes on sale in 2024

Future property: The A6 Avant e-tron is about to price between £60,000-£70,000 when it goes on sale in 2024

And this week Audi gave one other glimpse on the future by unveiling an all-electric autonomous idea metropolis automotive mannequin referred to as Urbansphere.

Audi additionally not too long ago revealed a near-production-ready prototype of its first all-electric property automotive, the A6 Avant e-tron, which is about to price between £60,000-£70,000 when it goes on sale in 2024. 

Its two electrical motors can ship 469 horsepower (350kW) and it guarantees a variety of as much as 435 miles in addition to quick charging — with its system giving 186 miles of vary in simply ten minutes.

Six different landmark Audis 

Sensible historical past

Audi’s historical past harks again to 1899 when August Horch arrange the motorized vehicle firm often known as Horch & Cie.

After a falling out with the board a decade later, he based Audi Automobilwerk. Unable to make use of his personal identify — protected by trademark — he selected its Latin translation, so ‘horch’ — or ‘hark’ — grew to become ‘audi’.

After the tip of World Battle II, the agency moved to Ingolstadt in Bavaria and, after a interval beneath Mercedes-Benz, was acquired by Volkswagen which itself had been saved and revived by the British.

A brand new Auto Union ‘Audi’ automotive, launched in 1965, with a four-stroke engine heralded the beginning of a brand new period. 

It was adopted in 1968 by the Audi 100 — the primary car to have shaken off all genetic hyperlinks with earlier fashions.

In the course of the late Nineteen Nineties, Audi’s then mercurial UK PR maestro Jon Zammett created a fleet of Audi limousine vehicles to chauffeur VIPs to purple carpet occasions the place, importantly, they had been photographed.

The advertising blueprint was copied throughout the US, in Germany and Continental Europe, Australia and past, to nice impact.

Star appeal: Robert Downey Jnr with a e-Tron GT at The World Premiere Of 'Avengers: Endgame' on April 22, 2019 in Hollywood, California

Star enchantment: Robert Downey Jnr with a e-Tron GT at The World Premiere Of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ on April 22, 2019 in Hollywood, California

From power to power

This technique has paid off. Final 12 months Audi was the UK’s highest promoting premium model and the second-highest promoting automotive model total with 117,993 car gross sales — round a 9.3 per cent rise on 2020 regardless of the pandemic and semiconductor shortages.

UK bestsellers final 12 months had been the Audi A3 (22,746); Q2 (14,469); A1 (14,203); Q5 (12,663); Q3 (12,362); and A4 (8,210). 

And almost one in ten Audis bought had been electrical — 11,777 in complete. The e-tron and e-tron Sportback had been one of the best performing electrical automobiles — accounting for 7,405 of Audi UK’s complete 2021 gross sales and outselling all the Q7 SUV line-up by virtually two to at least one.

Lord of the Rings 

In 1932 Audi grew to become certainly one of 4 German firms to merge to type Auto Union – the others being DKW, Horch and Wanderer. 

The now acquainted 4 interlocking rings grew to become its image – and Audis to this present day – and it grew to become a significant motor racing presence.

Audi is now main the electrification cost not solely of its personal premium vehicles, but in addition has oversight over its companions at Britain’s Bentley and Italy’s Lamborghini as these luxurious, efficiency and supercar manufacturers develop their very own electrical vehicles throughout the VW Group.

Globally, Audi bought 1.68 million automobiles final 12 months, of which 81,894 had been electrical — a rise of 57.5 per cent year-on-year — in an electrification programme that started with the premiere of the all-electric Audi e-tron SUV in 2018.

Audi plans to spend about €18billion on electrification and hybridisation between 2022 and 2026.

The agency mentioned: ‘Audi set a powerful instance with the presentation of the e-tron GT and the RS e-tron GT in the beginning of 2021. The This fall e-tron and the This fall Sportback e-tron additionally play a central position.

‘With these 4 new fashions, Audi has greater than doubled its product portfolio of absolutely electrical fashions previously 12 months.’

By 2025, Audi goals to supply greater than 20 fashions with all-electric drive, accounting for roughly 40 per cent of gross sales.

Director of Audi UK Andrew Doyle mentioned: ‘The efficiency by Audi UK in 2021 was exceptional, securing a record-breaking market share of seven.2 per cent which cemented us because the primary premium model

‘Our rising portfolio of absolutely electrical e-tron fashions helped to speed up that outcome and the continued urge for food we’re seeing in 2022 for our absolutely electrical fashions, particularly the This fall e-tron and This fall Sportback e-tron, will guarantee our share of the EV market continues to develop.’

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