• Jun 19, 2007
Last week BMW Group Australia managing director Guenther Seeman took at shot at fellow German automaker Audi saying the brand from Ingolstadt is not a premium competitor because it doesn't offer rear-wheel-drive cars, instead referring only to Mercedes-Benz and Lexus as his competition in the Australian market. Seeman also dinged Audi by suggesting it was buying market share by discounting its vehicles, and therefore violating the trust of its customers.

Seeman's counterpart at Audi Australia, Joerg Hofmann, has fired back at BMW by insinuating the Bavarian brand is just plain arrogant. Concerning the argument that a vehicle must be rear-wheel-drive to be considered part of the premium market, Hofmann says, "For me, a premium product has nothing to do with the drivetrain. I think it's even boring for the customer if you offer only one drivetrain." Finally, in reference to Seeman's charge that Audi is buying marketshare with discounts, Hofmann points out that BMW has already begun offering thousands of dollars in discounts on its newly redesigned volume seller, the 3-Series.

Audi is quickly gaining market share in many markets around the world, and Hofmann recognizes that each of his competitors will react to the brand's success in different way. In the first five months of 2007 for instance, Audi's sales have grown 41 increase in sales. Nevertheless, Audi remains in fourth place behind BMW, Mercedes and Lexus. Though it still has a long way to go to overcome its rivals, Audi has definitely turned up the heat on its competition. Some of them, like BMW Group Australia, clearly recognize the threat, even if they deny it.

[Source: GoAuto via Motor Authority]


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  • 73 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Alright, I am too lazy to shift through all of the pages, so I don't care if it has been said before I am just going to put it straight.

      The A3 and the Jetta/Golf(Rabbit) share platforms.
      The A4 and the Passat USED to share platforms, I believe that the Passat now uses a modified A4 platform.
      The A6 and A8 do not share any platforms with VW.
      The Q7 shares its platform with the Touareg and the Porsche Cayenne, but those are the SUVs which I dont care about.

      Ligor--The thing you must not understand about Audi, is the fact that they are best known for their quattro(AWD) and the FWD is only offered on some models(but many people choose AWD just because it is better).
      AWD is better than FWD and RWD as they proved back in the 80's and early 90's by racing with it. It is what they are known for, so I don't expect them to step down to RWD any time soon.
      The R8 is NOT RWD as you stated, it is in fact, AWD.

      Learn the facts, THEN post.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Audi should just let this one go. While BMW Austrailia is being cocky, Audi can slowly invade BMW's market. In my experience, BMW models do have better drivetrains than Audi models. However, when compared with Audi's superb interior, BMW interiors seem to have Kia-like quality. Additionally, recent Volkswagen and Audi models have impeccably precise steering systems that allow a driver to steer the vehicle with featherlight inputs while receiving near-perfect road feel.

      Those interested in the most sporting luxury car for their money are likely to go straight to a BMW lot. However, since many Americans spend several hours a week stuck in traffic (I'm not sure if this holds true in Australia), a well-built interior is often a top priority for luxury buyers.

      Ride on, Audi!
      • 7 Years Ago
      It is SO important for your luxury vehicle to have RWD. you'll appreciate it more after having to drive your 98 4WD blazer through the snow in the winter.

      Of course, thats opposed to buying something so pedestrian as an Audi with AWD for year round driving...
      • 7 Years Ago
      i think it's time for audi to use the old slogan again:
      4>3; 6>5; 8>7
        • 7 Years Ago
        hah! i love that. was that ever an advertising campaign? they should seriously use that!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Testa Di Cazzo, you are obviously an AUDI fanboy so it's ok to defend your brand, but for gods sake, you are french, french don't know anything about cars, just take a look at your domestics and their reliability ratings and it just shows that you come from a background that should just stick to scooters or bicycles. From the same country that during WW2 introduced tanks with 5 reverse gears and 0 forward, it just shows their innovation. And France is not the whole Europe, in my neck of the woods (BTW I am also European but thank god not french) BMW is considered a luxury brand, Audis are driven by bald teenagers wearing chains and picking up skanky blondes at disco parties. Anyway, all of Audis current designs are bloated, heavy, the weight distribution is not on the same BMW level, pretty much BMWs are better engineered cars. And worldwide sales favor BMWs by about 33%. Audi is just a nicely dressed up VW, just like to me Lexus is just a nicely dressed up Toyota, and Infiniti is a nicely dressed up Nissan, nothing wrong with that but those cars are not on the same level/prestige/history as BMW or Mercedes.
        • 7 Years Ago
        'Audis are driven by bald teenagers wearing chains and picking up skanky blondes at disco parties.' Sorry mate totally have to disagree. Maybe in your neck of the woods. Care to enlighten us where you come from?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Sales aren't everything to consumers. Maybe if your an executive but if you buy a car based on sales thats just dumb. I buy a car based on more than a drive-train also- I prefer awd over rwd. Audi is at a pinnacle of technology and design as is apparent especially to the new owners. BMW has hit its peak and now is in the realm of MB and others. Im simply saying who cares about BMW's perceived ( betterness) or is it bitterness! I want a car that has a fire burning under it and that right now is an AUDI. They are fresh, young and willing to make changes and admit what doesn't work. I can guarantee the designs coming out of AUDi are some of the freshest and alive we have seen in decades. BMW just cant match that because they lack the fire of a company that is on the move. Sorry
      • 7 Years Ago
      1337,
      when was the last time the A4 even won a competition? Even the G35 is considered a much sportier and better handling than the Jetta, sorry A4.

      The 3-series alone outsells the whole Audi line-up in the U.S. so considering this Audi must not be doing something right (FWD???) since according to you their interior is superb and we Americans want a better interior.
        • 7 Years Ago
        1337
        get your facts straight, the RS4 is AWD not FWD.
        • 7 Years Ago
        how about the March 2006 R&T, where it beat BMW, Lexus, Subaru, Volvo, Infiniti , and Mazda
        http://www.roadandtrack.com/article.asp?section_id=31&article_id=3280
        • 7 Years Ago
        Sheesh.

        Golf/Jetta, Audi A3 are on the PQ35 platform, which means
        [P]assenger car, [Q]uermotor (transversally mounted engine). 3 is the class of the car, 5 means it's the 5th generation.

        Audi A4: PL46 [L] for longitudinally mounted engine
        Passat: PQ46
        • 7 Years Ago
        I just bought an E46 328i to replace my B7 (fwd) A4 s-line. After two years I just got sick of the front wheel drive. The 2.0T engine is a dream though, but without the quattro it really is just a Jetta GLI.

        Also, I much prefer the interior of my 9 year old BMW to the Audi's which is 7 years newer. BMW had the sense to put sport seats in a sports package car, meanwhile I'm sliding all over my seat in the crappy standard seats that came on the s-line Audi. Seriously, Audi? America got hosed as the European s-line had the Recaro buckets from the S4.

        Last point, Audi ditching their free maintenance plan gave a nice boost to BMW's sales pitch. Customer service is not a good place cut corners.

        That said, the A8 and R8 are absolutely sick and are a nice unique product for the Auto Union. The base A4 and A6 are just VW's.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Geo, I did not intend to imply that the RS4 is AWD. I was making the point that Audi carefully chooses which vehicles should be FWD, and that Audi FWD vehicles do handle well.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Sheesh.

        Golf/Jetta, Audi A3 are on the PQ35 platform, which means
        [P]assenger car, [Q]uermotor (transversally mounted engine). 3 is the class of the car, 5 means it's the 5th generation.

        Audi A4: PL46 [L] for longitudinally mounted engine
        Passat: PQ46
        • 7 Years Ago
        Toyota outsells BMW? Point.? Vw outsells BMW? HONDA outsells BMW? HYundai outsells BMW? GO buy a hyundai LIGOR and get a clue.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I see BMW ads everywhere--magazines, television, the internet, etc. However, I see significanly fewer Audi ads. Seeing as Ford is able to sell the hideous, space inefficient, gas-guzzling Edge, and I see Edge ads everywhere, there is good evidence that advertising campaigns are often more relevant to sales figures than the quality of the vehicles.

        FWD in an RS4 is preposterous, but, for the 200hp 2.0T, FWD is hardly out of line. In fact, Volkswagen makes good money selling sporty FWD GTIs with that very powertrain.

        So, in short, Audi is going wrong by not advertising well enough, not by offering FWD luxury vehicles.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd like to get back to the central argument. To state that a luxury car must be RWD is as arrogant as it is foolish. Yes, for the most part luxury cars are RWD, and yes RWD does have some at-the-limit handling advantages over FWD. (over AWD is another debate entirely).

      But to me, RWD is the SUV of drivetrain configurations. The vast majority of people with luxury RWD cars never get into a situation where RWD makes any handling difference. This particularly applies to anything larger than 3-Series / A4 class. Oh I'm sure you can tell me about how you autocross you M5, but lets get real. the bigger the car, the less likely it is to get thrashed around in such a way to make RWD relevant.

      Mostly these cars simply make a daily commute down the freeways and city streets to the urban sectors that hold the jobs that allow them to afford such vehicles in the first place. RWD is about as necessary as a cow catcher.

      Empty bragging rights, and nothing more.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Uhuh,
      I agree with BMW on this one.

      Audi is nothing more than a revised VW (except the A8)
      A4 Jetta,
      A6 = Passat,

      And for Audi to be considered a fully threat to BMW they must be able to switch the next A4, A6 to RWD, for anyone else offer the AWD or they can just go adn get a VW if they want a FWD car.

      Audi is lagging even Infiniti right now, as the A4 is no match for the G35 and once the TwinTurbo comes in the G37-R it will also blow the doors of the S4 and RS4.

      So Audi, just take it with a grain of salt and go and figure out what to do about the FWD crap.
      And how come the A5 (very close to the A4 is FWD - isn't that competing against your own self? Seems liek a fuopolish decision on Audi's part, but then agian they were never able to figure out how to make a proper RWD till Lambo gave them some boost with the Gallardo based R8)

      As far as Lexus is concerned, they offer the IS350, GS, LS as RWD or AWD available,
      and ES covers those that need/want FWD.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I don't recall any RWD in the R8.

        Its AWD, and so are all the cars that Lamborghini make today.

        Get your facts straight, troll. Pffft.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ligor your brain dead. This type of thinking is so 90's! so go drive your tired ole 3 series and let the rest of us move into the next age in supreme style and advanced technology.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ligor.

        Your comments about the A4 and the A6 having anything to do with a Jetta and Passat, clearly show your ignorance. Unlike Lexus and Toyota who platform share, Audi does nothing of the kind with VW on the A4 or A6. In fact Audi has their own plants in which to build their cars. Yes the 2.0T engine is shared in the A4 and Jetta, but that engine began in an Audi as the 1.8T before being handed down to VW. Audi has been around over 108 years and is one of the oldest car makers to date. BMW has been around for 79 years while Lexus started just started in 1989. Audi has a rich racing heritage and today dominates in every race they enter from Super Touring to ALMS. Audi owns Lamborghini whicle VW owns Bugatti, and Bentley. BMW does sell more cars than Audi in the U.S. - you're point? They have much more money to advertise too. BTW - the A5 is AWD and will be here as the all dominating Quattro in a few months.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You are forgetting that the G35/G37 is just a revised Nissan.
        • 7 Years Ago
        keep trolling ligor. this guy clearly has a problem with VWAG. if you think A4=jetta and A6=passat, i'm pretty sure that means you know nothing about cars.

        and Audi hasn't gotten any RWD technology or knowhow from Lambo. Quite the other way around. Lambo is now known as the Supercar which uses AWD, which, surprise surprise, AUDI TAUGHT THEM.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I support BMW here, but most of audi's platforms are very different from vw's the a4 shares some components, but the a8/a6 do not, and the next gen a4/current a5 are on an all new setup. Plus audi uses aluminum construction with various parts of their chasis.

      In any case though, NO audi will not pass bmw any time soon (as ligor said the 3series outsells all of audi), theyre gaining, but still very far away, and for a car like the 3 series rwd is the only game in town. Handling, feel, balance, and low weight all come with rwd, not to mention anyone ever lifted off the throttle in awd mid-turn...pretty scary when all 3 differentials catch up and you get some hellish understeer..id prefer controlled oversteer to a ditch/tree.

      Still was silly of the bmw exec to be such a snobby a$$hole, good thing their engineers arent idiots (which is more than I can say for the designers as well).
        • 7 Years Ago
        Sales aren't everything to consumers. Maybe if your an executive but if you buy a car based on sales thats just dumb. I buy a car based on more than a drive-train also- I prefer awd over rwd. Audi is at a pinnacle of technology and design as is apparent especially to the new owners. BMW has hit its peak and now is in the realm of MB and others. Im simply saying who cares about BMW's perceived ( betterness) or is it bitterness! I want a car that has a fire burning under it and that right now is an AUDI. They are fresh, young and willing to make changes and admit what doesn't work. I can guarantee the designs coming out of AUDi are some of the freshest and alive we have seen in decades. BMW just cant match that because they lack the fire of a company that is on the move. Sorry
        • 7 Years Ago
        Do you understand that those numbers are US numbers only. God you americans are so full of yourselves. Audi outsells BMW and Mercedes IN GERMANY.

        Only in America is BMW known as a "luxury" marque. In europe, its just a commoner car. In Germany, Audi is known as the classiest and best performing car on the road.

        Sales figures saying that the 3-series outsells Audi ARE ONLY FOR THE UNITED STATEs. THERE ARE MANY OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD
      • 7 Years Ago
      who says bmw was talking about mercedes and lexus?

      i think bmw was talking about mercedes and infiniti
      • 7 Years Ago
      those are the words of a company who's scared of an up and coming competitor. Audi will very soon (meaning in a few years) overtake BMW in sales. they already have in terms of quality and performance.

      Audi outperforms BMW in every category in which they are competing, with perhaps the exception of the TT vs. the Z4 (depending on how good the new TT is, which i don't know). the A4/S4/RS4 clearly outperforms the 3-series/M3, at least on the track, if not also in looks. the A6/S6 is class leading in quality and performance, and doesn't look like a japanese rice-rocket, which is waht the 5-series makes me think of. And the A8 is perhaps the classiest car on the road today, clearly outclassing, and outperforming, that abortion of a car that bangle designed and calls the 7-series. not to mention the RS6, which is just pure class, and the S8 and A8 W12, which leave the 7 in the dust.

      its a shame how far BMW has fallen, and just how fast. their last series of cars (E38 7, E39 5, and E46 3) were some of the most beautiful and high-performing cars ever put out by any manufacturer.

      Alas, Audi has been having double-digit sales increases in every market over the past couple years, and in terms of performance and racing-cred, has been leaking all over BMW with the Le Mans records and the DTM racing (which i think BMW left entirely if i'm right). BMW is right to be scared.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Europeans would disagree with you. BMW is very much considered luxury in Europe. I'm not going to argue with you on sales figures, since I honestly don't know. But I can tell you first hand that BMWs are looked at exactly the same as their are in America, even down to the owners looked as being 'well to do snobbish people'.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Testa, I'm curious what the European stereotypes for Volkswagen are? How about American makes such as Ford and Chrysler?
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm European. I live in France. I'm pretty sure i know better than you what the vehicle perceptions are in Europe. Let me give you an idea:

        BMW: for young immigrants (turks in germany, arabs in france) who want to look cool. not considered classy.
        MB: basically, have some nice models, but they are all over the place, and are used more as taxis than anything
        Audi: Classy, performant cars.
        Porsche: Luxury performance cars.

        If you want info on other cars (peugeot, citroen, opel, Seat, etc.) let me know and i'll give you the scoop on those as well
        • 7 Years Ago
        Volkswagen is a commoner car as well, with the Phaeton being the exception (for people who wanted extreme luxury without being austentation or showy, like an A8 or a 7-series would be). VW are also used a lot as taxis (like Mercedes, Peugeot, Renault, and Opel)

        Chrylser doesn't sell much in europe. really only the 300 and the Crossfire (the small one which was based on teh SLK). They're nice cars, and fun to see because they're rare.

        Ford is just seen as another typical daily driver car (like VW) though they have some nice performant versions of the focus. Ford's WRC racing has done it well by a lot of enthusiasts as well (something americans ignore for some reason)... For some reason, people don't use ford's as taxis as much as the other cars...
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