It appears that there was a pent up demand for compact, front-wheel drive German luxury sedans that no one really knew about. Not only has the Mercedes CLA-Class been a success in the US with its Hungarian factory running three shifts to keep up, but the Audi A3 Sedan is doing quite well, too, after just three full months on the market.

Audi of America recently announced that the compact sedan shifted 2,452 vehicles in June and 7,735 units of the A3 since the beginning of the year. Not only are they selling; it's the people buying them that's important. According to Audi USA spokesperson John Schilling speaking to Autoblog, "A little over 25 percent of A3 buyers in April were 30 years or under." That's compared to about 18 percent for the A4, he said. Company executives also recently told Edmunds that many of those new customers are brand conquests turning in Honda or Toyota models. We gently mocked Audi when it held A3 Sedan launch parties aimed at hipsters that served craft beer and played indie music, but the marketing worked, apparently.

That said, if you're in the market for an A3, you might have not be able to get one immediately. According to Edmunds, some customers are on a waiting list for the compact luxury sedan. Although, Schilling said that's because Audi is still stocking dealers. "It's a little leaner than other models, but that's mainly because it's new and still ramping up," he said.

It doesn't seem like the strong sales are changing anytime soon. The A3 Sedan won the title of 2014 World Car of the Year, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the car its Top Safety Pick+ status, the group's highest award. Also, there are more a lot A3 variants on the way. The S3, A3 TDI and A3 Cabriolet all hit dealers later this summer, and the Q3 compact crossover arrives this fall. Finally, according to Edmunds, the A3 E-Tron plug-in hybrid slides into US dealers in the second quarter of 2015. All those new models could mean even more young folks grabbing for the Four Rings.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 193 Comments
      Indubitably
      • 5 Months Ago
      95% of consumers have no idea what cars are fwd or rwd, nor do they care. The appeal in the CLA and A3 is the German badge, along with a low price. That's it. Little do these people know about the mechanicals or reliability -- nor do they care about that as well. All they care about is that at the end of the day, they are driving a MARRCEDEZZZ.
        churchmotor
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Indubitably
        BWM surveyed their own BUYERS of the 1-series(Now 2-series) and 70% thought they had purchased a FWD BMW.
          carguy1701
          • 5 Months Ago
          @churchmotor
          And...? That proves nothing. The average car buyer these days knows nothing about how the vehicle actually works.
          moorewr
          • 5 Months Ago
          @churchmotor
          Awesome - can you post a link?
        Rick
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Indubitably
        I do believe that's correct. But also, take a look at a CLA when you start adding the amenities that most seem to want. Its base price rises very quickly and seems much less the deal. In my mind Audi is the poor man's BMW/Mercedes and so attracts the up and comers who seek to impress. There is more to it than that but I do believe that covers the bulk of it. (Not all Audis are low cost certainly but it is where Audi has placed themselves in the market)
        moorewr
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Indubitably
        Truth.
      JanP
      • 5 Months Ago
      Another proof that traditional wagons will never do well in America. The last generation A3 was sold in wagon/hatch form only, and barely anyone bought it. The new A3 is now sold in sedan form only, with that useless tiny trunk opening, but it's selling like hotcakes already.
      SquareFour
      • 5 Months Ago
      Ah, the power of perceived status. People will pay a premium just to say, "I own an Audi (or Benz or BMW)!" (when more often than not it's a lease) instead of, "I drive that Corolla over there...um, it's a company car." I know a pretty wealthy guy who drives a 1998 Camry. We had a conversation about wealth and etc one time where he brought up cars to illustrate a point about staying wealthy by not spending that wealth unnecessarily. I said something to the effect that there's nothing wrong with having as nice a car as you can afford. He replied by saying that his Camry is a nice car, nice enough for him, and that most of the time we're actually paying more for image than the car itself. People want their choice of car to tell others something flattering about themselves. Some buy luxury or performance brands to announce their means and status to the world. Others buy Jeeps and the like to project some sort of rugged image. I asked him what his car says about him. He says he hopes it says nothing to the bulk of the population, but to those who know him, he wants that Camry to say, "I don't give a shat what you think."
        mikemaj82
        • 5 Months Ago
        @SquareFour
        So in other words, he's not a car guy. Plain and simple.
          Barry Hubris
          • 5 Months Ago
          @mikemaj82
          Ten to think of myself as a car guy (done eurpean delivery, custom ordered cars with specific drivetrain/transmissions, sought out track days) and I see the value the original poster speaks of. Audi is not a car guy brand. It's FWD with mostly VW parts and a bigger price tag. You get the faux appearance of a more luxurious interior and a dealership that's newer but the quality and service are strictly bottom tier. Might as well go Mazda if you want tight handling and FWD... then you'll save the cash and get better build quality. Audi...we're not talking about a nicely balanced RWD with a manual. Just a modular VW.
          SquareFour
          • 5 Months Ago
          @mikemaj82
          Actually, he owns a Lotus race car and a stable of classic Brit bikes he races. That's how I got to know him. He drives that Camry because it does everything he needs it to do without drama and because what unknown passersby think of what he drives doesn't matter to him. Your comment illustrates the trouble with "image," it causes people to jump to conclusions and make false assumptions.
          Brandon
          • 5 Months Ago
          @mikemaj82
          Most Audi's don't even share a platform with a VW, only the lower rung models and the Q7 and they share some engines but that's about it. Their AWD is rear wheel biased and is completely different from VW's and their interiors are some of the best in the industry. Audi is as close to VW as Lexus is to Toyota, so saying an audi is "just a fancier VW" is completely incorrect.
        belgiumania
        • 5 Months Ago
        @SquareFour
        Except that is the opposite of what he is doing. You said yourself that he is driving the old bucket of junk to illustrate a point and tell people what they should think of him when in fact it does the exact opposite. He wants to be seen as a frugal, smart guy for driving an old Camry but what he really is is an obnoxious, attention seeking, rich guy who wants people to think specific things when they see him in that car. How that any different from driving the newest luxury car if your intention is to have your vehicle make a statement about your social status? What that guy does is the exact opposite of wanting people to think "I don't give a shat what you think." Because clearly, he cares a lot because it takes a lot of will to wake up every morning and drive a 16 year old Camry.
        pickles
        • 5 Months Ago
        @SquareFour
        My wealthiest friend -and he is seriously wealthy by San Francisco terms drives an ancient Chevy Astro but had a blip of wanting something showy- bought a MB convertible- never, ever drove it- gave it to his kid, who flipped it and they replaced it with an old pickup truck. Experiment in showy BS over. Also of note- the founder of IKEA, a billionaire, drove a 15 year old Volvo 240 series car (at least when last reported in 2008). But then, the kids wanna be able to say, "my car's just over there, the silver AUDI" and their life is complete. OY.
      AngeloD
      • 5 Months Ago
      These conquest customers will be flocking back to Honda and Toyota after they have had enough of the Volkswagon/Audi ownership experience. That'd be about three years for most. After their 2nd tow back to the dealership, after the third window regulator fails, etc. they will be shopping for a new Lexus.
        Barry Hubris
        • 5 Months Ago
        @AngeloD
        Just a regular Mazda, Honda will feel luxurious as they will run.
        Josh
        • 5 Months Ago
        @AngeloD
        YES! Not to mention out of whack values and parts prices... I'm happy with the US domestic market and my 5.0 GT. A situation like a world class rear drive chassis + lots of power for under $35k just doesn't work any where else... Happy 4th everyone
          11fiveoh
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Josh
          Strange, i had a 2011 gt that was a hunk of junk. Had tranny issues, and tons of other small things, rattles, crazy amounts of wear on the seats/center console. Sold it in less than 2 years, with 17k miles. My s4 i've had for 2 years, 25k miles (almost 20k with apr stage 2 upgrades) not a single issue. Plus, taking the car in for service is a pleasure. Ford was full of knuckle draggers that rev'd the piss out of my car. And, took forever for an oil change. And over a week to fix the syncro's in the trans.
        moorewr
        • 5 Months Ago
        @AngeloD
        The actual reliability numbers for current Audi models (as opposed to the problem periods, especially 2003-6) don't bear this out.
        Richard J Lawrence
        • 5 Months Ago
        @AngeloD
        I guess I must be the exception. I have had gotten great service out my VWs. Now I do agree about the parts, very expensive, but outside of that I have put 400,000 combined miles on two VWs (both new) in the past 14 years. It has been a pleasant experience.
      knightrider_6
      • 5 Months Ago
      People are trading in their Corollas and Civics to purchase rebadged Jettas? What could go wrong with that!
        max
        • 5 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        Corollas and Civics are very boring and barely have any guts to get up to high way speeds. A3 is not a re-badged Jetta bur rather a VW Golf/GTI (based on MQB platform) while Jetta is based on an older platform all together.
          NightFlight
          • 5 Months Ago
          @max
          Hey Aaron, no one cares about the Civic Si. A base A3 is likely as fast, and a CLA250 is faster.
          carguy1701
          • 5 Months Ago
          @max
          1. The Si only appeals to a specific portion on the market. 2. Not many people buy it. 3. When getting up to speed, torque is more important than horsepower. 4. Pork chop sandwiches.
      Barry Hubris
      • 5 Months Ago
      Previous Honda and Toyota owners will regret that decision. As the previous owner of two Audis and two VWs (all within the 2000s), Audi quality/build is well below everything from Japanese makes. My wife loved her Audi but did not love the thousands of dollars a year needed to keep it going... or the numerous parts that would break inside the car (or blister or fall apart) within the warranty and Audi would declare normal wear and tear. She replaced her last Audi (only 5 years old at the time) with a brand new Toyota. Two years in and not a single problem. FWIW, the A3 sedan < a3 wagon. Sedan has no utility. And what's with the anemic base engine? Is this 2001?
        normc32
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Barry Hubris
        People don't want their parents bland Honda or Toyota's.
          churchmotor
          • 5 Months Ago
          @normc32
          Even worse, People don't want used rental grade Encores.
        Soccer Mom
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Barry Hubris
        The authoritative note of "as a previous owner" is included to give yourself credibility, but only shows utter cluelessness of the statement. Audi are as reliable as they get. They do not fall apart more than Honda or Toyota does. They run for 10-15 years and at the end of their run there is no rustle or missing bits and pieces. They are more expensive to maintain and prepare, but it should be expensive, as they are more expensive cars to begin with. The only Honda or Toyota owner that will regret their decision are the types that see no difference between a McDonald's meal and a AAA steak dinner with wine. The difference is in every detail, in how the care drives, handles and feels. Both Honda and Toyota may put leather and gizmos in, but they still feel cheap. When you hitch a ride in an Audi or BMW after driving Toyota, the difference may not be noticeable. But once you drive a German for a while and are forced to get into a Toyota or Honda, then you begin to realise why the former is a nice car and the latter is a mainstream WalMart quality.
          BodyBlue
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Soccer Mom
          "As reliable as they get" ???????????????????????? EEEHHHHHHHHHHH WRONG. Go away paid troll, you just blew your cover.
          Brandon
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Soccer Mom
          @BodyBlue, look at the line about Audi. They're 4th in reliabIlity, but don't let that fact get in the way of your blind hate for German cars. And my S5 has had absolutely no problems in the 2 years I've owned it so far. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/10/2013-consumer-reports-reliability-survey/index.htm
          Soccer Mom
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Soccer Mom
          @Barry, so you extrapolate your local dealership experience onto the whole brand? From the local Audi experience, they are cheap to maintain - half the cost of similarly priced Mercedes or BMW. The dealership service is flawless. No experience with warranty repairs, as no issues are experienced on any Audis under warranty. Quality-wise, friends, family and associates own VW/Audis of different age. Even at 15 years-old, they still feel like a quality piece without any major issues. Furthermore, Audi/VW had fewer recalls than Toyota, Honda or GM. Check the numbers. Maintenance? Toyota and Honda require oil change every 5-7K, Audi every 15K. Less maintenance, even if it is costlier. Trim pieces - I question that. Even 15 year-old Audis often feel like they are the same as they were when new. At the same time, Honda and Toyota feel that there is nothing to lose - it is as basic (to save costs) as it gets.
          Barry Hubris
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Soccer Mom
          Soccer Mom, you go with your reality (backed by fake stats). I lived through the hell of Audi. As have family and friends and strangely the consensus seems to be the same as with all other german brands: poorly built. Of course MB and BMW actually honor their warranties and repair the cars. Audi... yeah... they just say it's wear and tear.
          ravenosa
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Soccer Mom
          "the types that see no difference between a McDonald's meal and a AAA steak dinner with wine. " And German car owners often tend to be the types that can't taste the difference between foods nor even prepare their own meals, but LOVE expensive meals more than cheaper/home-made ones, regardless of actual flavor.
          flanders2520
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Soccer Mom
          Very well said. Spot on.
        Dave
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Barry Hubris
        I have a 2013 Audi S5, total operating cost after a year is $0, the 2003 Audi A4 I traded in cost me an average of $350 a year to keep running (oil changes and regualr maintenance over four years). So sick and tired of the typical VW\Audi build quality issues post - it’s such a myth. Most VW\Audi’s that i’ve seen come in with major issues are from people being lazy and not keeping up with the recommmended maintenance cycles. I agree that VW\Audi maintenance costs are higher but you should know that before you purchase one.
          Soccer Mom
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Dave
          It a 20-year-old myth propagated by those who never owned one or had a used, beaten, off-warranty wreck they've got from the "Honest Joe's Used Cars". Audi is on top of the list in quality.
          Dave
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Dave
          Barry - well if you've had problems then all German cars must be crap :P
      Patrick
      • 5 Months Ago
      Im in the market to upgrade my 15 yr old toyota. I got a good job but no way i'd pay $35k for this plain jain car. On top of that the known electronic issues & high maintenance costs that plagues these german, ill steer clear. For $35k, id rather get me a Q50/G37 or the TLX.
        hokkaido76
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Patrick
        Agreed. Buying an audi is a fools errand that will cost you once the warranty and "FREE MAINTENANCE!" promotion end.
          Brandon
          • 5 Months Ago
          @hokkaido76
          Man you're getting real good usage out of your 2 accounts aren't ya?
          yonomo200
          • 5 Months Ago
          @hokkaido76
          Two? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!
          NightFlight
          • 5 Months Ago
          @hokkaido76
          This guy has dozens of accounts. Look how the negative comment about the TLX is -7 and the positive is at +9. Honda fanboys are the absolute worst....
        Barry Hubris
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Patrick
        Patrick, honestly, can't say a TLX is worth it either. Really a loaded Camcord will get you most of the way there and be significantly cheaper to boot.
          Fadic4
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Barry Hubris
          Because you can get an accord with a 9 speed? An accord with a 6 speed dual clutch? Sh-awd..? A ton load of saftey features that the accord doesn't get. And this is only the first car that Acura did that separated themselves from Honda.
          Barry Hubris
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Barry Hubris
          Fadic4 is an Acura lover. Sorry but to make the TLX a performance sedan you gotta really pump some cash into it. At that point why not go with Infiniti, Lexus, BMw, etc who sell real RWD sport sedans?
          Fadic4
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Barry Hubris
          You should probably look into SH-AWD--what do you think will handle better..? SH-AWD or a rwd or even a regular awd system offers by BMW merc or audi? Specially the new version of SH-AWD that that starts sending power as soon as you start turning the steering wheel. For 40ka 290hp SH-AWD is pretty good since it lost even more weight. Btw my favorite cars are acuras and Bmws. I'll take an m5 any day.
          carguy1701
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Barry Hubris
          AWD is overrated and the TLX system is still front biased.
      ebn.hahn
      • 5 Months Ago
      My Only problem with this article is that AutoBlog's Chris Bruce Never mention the Word VW Bassat of which this viehcle is based upon not even once. However, when discussing the Lincoln MKZ, Ford Hating Autoblog writers will let us know the connection between the MKZ and the FORD FUSION 15 times in an article!!. And Frankly the Lincoln MKZ shares Far LESS with the FUSION than the A3 with the Bassat!!. You agree AUTOBLOG!!!??. You have a BIAS against FORD and that make us like FORD MORE!!!!. HATERS.......
      12yan
      • 5 Months Ago
      I don't know why would anyone buy this entry audi over jetta or golf, they're pretty much all the same thing.
        Barry Hubris
        • 5 Months Ago
        @12yan
        Yep, the GTI autobahn actually gives the buyer more car for far less money. Better power, better engine, better usability. only reason to get an A3: want the four rings.
        Steve
        • 5 Months Ago
        @12yan
        they want the 4 circles on the grill
        Soccer Mom
        • 5 Months Ago
        @12yan
        Audi A3 used to come in Quattro, VW - not. Audi's AWD is sublime, hence the higher price. Interiors are different too. You feel the difference when you drive one.
          Joey Franklin
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Soccer Mom
          Yeah i have driven the A3 and 15 GTI, there is no way i would pay the extra for the Audi. It was a pretty nice car but the GTI is more of a drivers car for sure.
      Spartan
      • 5 Months Ago
      They may be stealing Toyota and Honda sales, but I bet they aren't stealing Ford sales. This may be a testament that Ford is seen as a more premium brand now than it ever has been. FWIW, if I'm cross-shopping a fully loaded Fusion vs an Audi A3, I'd buy the Fusion.
      TopGun
      • 5 Months Ago
      Short term gain…long term pain. Yes, the Audi execs will feel pretty good now…but when the Audi brand isn't, by definition, as premium as it was before, then they won't be able to command premium prices for their vehicles any longer.
        david.bergman1
        • 5 Months Ago
        @TopGun
        Couldn't have said it better myself.
        what
        • 5 Months Ago
        @TopGun
        Audi has a better image now than they did in 2005/6 when they started offering the A3 here. It also started at ~$25k back then. Not seeing your point.
      LivetoDrive
      • 5 Months Ago
      This car looks funny
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