• Sep 23rd 2010 at 4:58PM
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2010 Audi A3 TDI – Click above for high-res image gallery

Audi's A3 has been something of a quiet entry point for the German automaker in the North American market, selling in modest volumes compared to its more upscale A4 and A6 brethren. According to Audi of North America president, Johan de Nysschen, those low volumes have been supply constrained for some time. The A3 has been performing so well in the European market that capacity remains in short supply. The supply constraint is so acute that Audi hasn't been offering any incentives or leasing plans to help boost the model's numbers.

Another reason for the A3's low take-rate, de Nysschen admits, is its five-door hatchback bodystyle, a configuration that is at odds with traditional expectations for premium cars among U.S. consumers. But help may be on the way.

As we first reported back in January, Audi may build a sedan version of the A3 to better appeal to this market's consumer tastes. However, the company is reluctant to undertake the cost of developing a new bodystyle for the North American market alone, and Audi of Europe apparently isn't terribly interested in offering one to its customers. The potential solution de Nysschen is pursuing hinges upon lobbying Audi's other international arms to see if they are interested in offering an A3 sedan. Of those divisions, Audi's Asian outposts would seem to be the most likely candidate, as countries like South Korea and China are very accepting of cars with trucks, and both are seen as strong growth markets.

Interestingly, de Nysschen reminded Autoblog that the A3's sales volume has actually more than doubled in the States this year. That's partly because Audi is earning more consideration from car buyers, and partly because demand for the model has fallen in Europe where it is approaching the end of its lifecycle. With less product needed to keep EU dealers happy, Audi has been able to secure more units to sell in the States. Through August, Audi sold 4,012 A3 five-doors in the States. That represents a whopping 74.8 percent year-over-year increase – a remarkable feat for a car that has been on sale since 2006. By this time last year, Audi had only managed to shift 2,295 units. Just as interesting is word that sales of the TDI diesel A3 account for around 50 percent of the model's sales – a percentage that Audi says holds true for its other TDI offering, the Q7.

The next-generation A3 is expected in 2012, but with plans for a sedan still up in the air, it seems unlikely that a four-door variant will accompany its initial rollout. Either way, the second-generation model is expected to continue sharing quite a bit with its Volkswagen counterparts, including offering a derivative of automaker's ubiquitous 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder and Quattro all-wheel drive.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      i saw some preliminary specifications and the a3 sedan is pretty much the same size as the a4 was back around 2000! now they just need to completely redo the a6, since it is starting to get old and maybe make it bigger since the a4 is not that far away in size!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow! An A3 sedan. I am sure that Subaru are shuttering in their boots!

      Way to head downmarket Audi!

      Make a real S3 as requested above!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Please just bring in the 3-door hatch like the one I see every so often roaming around town (where did it come from??). Those things are all over Europe and look much sharper than the 5-door
      • 4 Years Ago
      As much as we here love hatches its true that sadly a majority of people dont like them due to whatever reasons in the luxury segment. A sedan A3 might help Audi sell more units and could help round off their line up.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I bought one, and i'm happy with it.

        I parked next to a toyota tundra today, and it made my A3 look like a smart car!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Geez, this whole group is so full of crap!

      They have such pretense of drastically increasing their market share in North America, yet all they do is whine and make excuses.

      Hyundai manages to find a way to meet market demands. Any company should be delighted to have demand exceed supply, but not these jokers. They admit to demand for the A3 outstripping supply, yet they refuse to budge from their flawed paradigm that Americans hate hatchbacks, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

      How about they offer the A1 here, unfettered, and for once SEE what our market actually wants, not what they imagine we want and then artificially control the equation.

      We can only buy what's available. It's very much a self-fulfilling prophecy. MINI proved that we are happy to buy hatches - if they're worthy.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why bother with a sedan version? First off, the A3 is freakin' ancient at this point. Second, why reduce the interior volume of an already small car by making it a sedan? If people want a sedan, they can get the A4, which is already available and would arguably look better. It's not that much bigger or expensive either.

      How about they make an all-new A3 first rather than reskinning the old one into irrelevancy. I can't believe it's still offered in the States. I hardly ever see them, and their resale prices are crazy, especially on fully-loaded ones.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Audi does have a compact 4-door sedan in the US market. Instead of throwing money around developing an A3 sedan, offer the A4 sedan and wagon with available Diesel -- V6 please -- quattro and manual transmission simultaneously (it's inconceivable that you can get an A3 with manual transmission and quattro but if you opt for the TDI, you're stuck with FWD and S-Tronic. The bottom line is that we're only asking for some of the same options that other markets have had from the very inception of every Audi model.

      In fact, it had already been suggested at least 4 years ago that Audi should offer the TDI in EVERY model in its North American line up, and only recently has it been (much too) slowly making that move: http://1l2.us/_B
      • 4 Years Ago
      So.. if sales are up almost 75%, where's the logic that hatcbacks don't sell. I call bull. How does that explain the 100s of thousands of Prius, Mazda3, MINI, Xa, Fit, Yaris, New Beetle? Even the Fiesta is selling better in hatchback than sedan form and at the opposite end, the Panamera is selling beyond expectations. The simple fact is that smart, versatile, interesting hatchbacks sell well.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Fine, bring a sedan to hook a few more buyers, just don't drop the hatchback. Don't do what BMW has done with the 5er wagon, bring the stupid hunchback 5GT and say "Oh, it's just as good as a wagon, we don't need to bring the real one anymore."
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe this is a stupid question, but does that huge red "TDI" logo really appear on the production version of this car?
      • 4 Years Ago
      How about an S3 sports coupe? It could be fun to drive and not break the bank.

      (Besides, do not "odd numbered Audis mean coupes?)

      The TT is very expensive, there is a lot pricing room underneath it for an S3 coupe.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Audi needs to give us an A1 so I can nickname it Steaksauce.
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