Audi won't stock E-Tron models at dealers

Order-only retail model could help make the car profitable

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Audi's new electric SUV, the E-Tron won't occupy precious floor space at Audi dealers. Instead of filling their yards with pre-configured E-Trons, U.S. Audi dealers will instead handle refundable reservations with $1,000 deposits. This means every U.S. Audi dealer can order a customer an E-Tron without allocation and floorplan expenses being part of the equation.

As Automotive News reports, Audi plans to maximize its profits per every E-Tron it sells. This means cutting out the costs that result from stocking the vehicles at dealer premises. The E-Tron will serve as an experimental product in this sense, but other Audi models can follow. "I think it would be a beautiful world if you can go to a dealer with zero floorplan expense and proper, full gross on the car," said Scott Keogh, Audi of America President.

The E-Tron, Audi's first-ever fully electric production vehicle is built in Brussels, Belgium, a former Volkswagen facility the manufacturer now calls its "electromobility hub." Battery production is also situated at the factory, cutting down the time needed to unite the vehicles with their batteries. Still, Keogh says the waiting time for U.S. customers, dependent on global demand for the E-Tron, can stretch to as long as even a year or more. Those $1,000 pre-orders are currently being taken.

There's an initial First Edition model, which is produced in a 999-unit run and priced at $87,695. Under that are the $75,795 Premium Plus — E-Tron-speak for "base" — and the $82,795 Prestige. The E-Tron's range is mentioned to be just under 250 miles based on the WLTP standard; EPA range for the vehicle hasn't yet been announced.

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