Audi will spend less on future technology as it focuses on future technology

It seems the very thing meant to be saved by Audi curtailing spending could also take a hit as a result. A report from Reuters outlines a few ways Audi will cut costs in the wake of its parent company's diesel scandal. While focusing on EVs, autonomous driving, and new connected technology instead of its current vehicle portfolio, Audi is axing plans for a track to test self-driving cars as well as facilities meant to produce new concepts and batteries. Or, you know, exactly the kinds of things Audi is now focusing its efforts on.

Some of this shouldn't come as a surprise. We already know about the death of the R8 E-Tron, a low-volume EV that wasn't going to make the brand much money and didn't pan out as a halo electric car quite like the company probably hoped. Then there's the new E-Tron crossover, which has been in the works for a while and will head a line of consumer-grade EVs from the brand – the kind that will make money as long as they sell in mass-market numbers, something Tesla has shown is possible. That project is surely safe, although perhaps it will now take longer for the EVs to gain autonomous abilities.

This change in funding direction could mean that the planned autonomous track, dubbed IN-Campus as it was to be located in Audi's home of Ingolstadt, was going to be more for show than actual research, or that Audi thinks it can get the same outcomes in its existing facilities or new ones located elsewhere. (The company's work council is upset by the plan being put on hold, as it could mean more jobs leaving Germany.)

There's also the very strong possibility that this provides a welcome opportunity for the company to cut some fat. Reuters notes that Audi spends more on R&D than rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz, despite having the whole VW Group to leverage. While the diesel scandal was certainly not welcome, it may be forcing Audi and the other Group brands to take a closer look at balance sheets than they otherwise would have. The result of all of this could be a leaner company, assuming too much attention doesn't stray to low-volume EVs and away from what are still the core products.

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