Having announced its intent of becomingthe number one premium auto brand, Audi has introduced 12 new models with impressive upgrades. This year marked an exceptional leap forward as the brand attempts to make headway against competing premium automakers.
Of course, while technological innovations, comfort, and efficiency are intended to drive Audi into the upper echelons of automakers, the September 2015 emissions scandal surrounding its parent company, Volkswagen, has threatened to stall progress. 2.1 million diesel-powered Audis were outfitted with the test-manipulating software and will likely be recalled. But Audi is weathering the challenge—sales in September actually rose 16.2 percent in the U.S., a key market for the German company. Audi has also launched website features that lets customers check whether their models are affected.
Audi has become the top premium brand in the SUV segment and is making substantial gains in the compact car category as well. While design, interior quality, innovative safety, and ease-of-use features endear existing drivers, Audi’s vision for the future of the industry is what will set the brand apart. Audi’s autonomous A7, Jack, stole the limelight at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where journalists took a self-driven journey from Palo Alto to Las Vegas. The e-tron quattro concept, a battery-powered SUV slated for launch in 2018, could compete with the Tesla Model X and repair Audi’s eco-image by demonstrating the brand’s commitment to alternative fuel.
On the global front, Audi continues to face fierce competition in its quest to be the number one premium automaker. A focus on growth markets like China and Latin America is integral to that ambition, even though reliance on a huge market like China may come with uncertainties. With a new factory opened in Curitiba, Brazil and a plant slated to open in San José Chiapa, Mexico in 2016, Audi is expanding access and trade relations worldwide and making strategic strides in the right direction.