Audi sets price for A3 TDI clean diesel, reports sales figures

By Nicholas Zeman | August 19, 2009
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Posted September 9, 2009

Audi's second clean-diesel offering in a year, the A3 TDI, will hit the streets before Christmas. The company released prices for the new sedan in September preceding a commercial television campaign scheduled to begin shortly, said Bradley Stertz, spokesman for Audi. The suggested retail price is $29,950.

Upon the close of the popular "cash for clunkers" program, which was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Audi reported its second best August sales ever, selling 8,057 vehicles. "It still gave us a bump up, but was less than 10 percent of our sales for the month," Stertz told Biodiesel Magazine. "It actually proved to be a stronger program than we thought going in, but was not a huge impact compared to gains some other manufacturers had. It didn't drag our sales ahead, while some others might suffer a bit of a hangover in September."

Several clean diesel models had been approved by "cash for clunkers" administrators, but Audi's Q7 TDI was too expensive to qualify. Nevertheless, TDI models still accounted for more than 30 percent of the model's sales figures in July. The number was down to between 18 percent and 20 percent the following month as the company was phasing out 2009 vehicles and preparing to launch the 2010 line early in September.

The 2010 A3 TDI "delivers the highest highway fuel economy in the luxury car category" at 42 miles per gallon, Audi stated, and is 50-state certified by the U.S. EPA. Audi approves biodiesel blends up to B5 and it hopes to increase that number in the future, Stertz said, responding to a question on whether interest in renewable fuels is a sales driver for the new clean diesel passenger vehicle.

"We think biodiesel is a great next step and Audi's been urging the government to ensure that biodiesel is more consistent," Stertz said. "When you pull up to a gas station you really never know what you're going to get, so we haven't endorsed more than a B5 blend at this point."
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