Audi looks at the diesel trail

Tax breaks are an added in­cen­tive for smaller diesel en­gines in the A6, writes PAUL POT­TINGER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide -

ADIESEL-FRIENDLY pro­vi­sion in Aus­tralia’s re­vised Lux­ury Car Tax is open­ing a new sales chan­nel for Audi. It plans to use new en­gines and a price ad­van­tage to put ex­tra spark into the A6 sedan and wagon when they are re­vamped next year.

Over­all, pres­tige-car sales fell in Septem­ber, with BMW and Mercedes go­ing sig­nif­i­cantly back­wards, but Audi’s re­sult was up 26 per cent, off the back of the new A4 range. But in the next seg­ment up the pres­tige tree, the age­ing A6 con­tin­ues to be out­sold about three to one by BMW’s 5 Se­ries.

That has prompted Audi Aus­tralia to con­sider two smaller diesel en­gines — the 2.0 TDI and 2.7 TDI V6 — in ad­di­tion to the 12 Audi mod­els of all types al­ready sched­uled for release be­tween now and the end of next year.

They run the gamut from an A3 petrol hatch ca­pa­ble of 5.8 litres for 100km to the au­to­bahn-storm­ing Q7 with a V12 tur­bod­iesel.

The roll­out in­cludes the first diesel ver­sion of the TT coupe and the vi­tal Q5 com­pact SUV. The big­ger Q7 will come stan­dard with seven seats.

The Lux­ury Car Tax has been raised to 33 per cent on the por­tion of their price above $57,000, cars that use less than 7 litres/100km are tax ex­empt up to $75,000. Sim­i­larly ef­fi­cient cars — such as the new A4 and A5 with the 3.0 TDI— are li­able for the LCT only on the part of their price above $75,000.

‘‘Pre­vi­ously, we have not con­sid­ered bring­ing the A6 in as a four-cylin­der diesel or with the 2.7, but we are re­view­ing them now,’’ Audi Aus­tralia manag­ing di­rec­tor Jo­erg Hof­mann says.

He is cer­tain to price them with a view to the most pop­u­lar 5 Se­ries, the 520d at $81,000, which runs a four-cylin­der tur­bod­iesel.

Audi ex­pects to top 9000 Aus­tralian sales this year and is aim­ing for 10,000 next year.

De­spite the furore sur­round­ing what he calls the ‘‘stupid and un­fair’’ lux­ury-car tax, which has seen pres­tige car sales de­cline about 15 per cent since the start of the fi­nan­cial year, Hof­mann says Audi is ‘‘fly­ing’’.

Af­ter a record Septem­ber in which it sold 804 cars to achieve 7405 year-to-date, Audi has al­ready sur­passed its sales for the whole of last year.

‘‘We have a mi­cro-econ­omy here in Aus­tralia so that even in a bloody dif­fi­cult world en­vi­ron­ment we’re still work­ing well. Even if the econ­omy be­comes worse, we are in a sit­u­a­tion where we can grow,’’ Hof­mann says. ‘‘I am 100 per cent sure of this.’’

Hof­mann reaf­firms Audi’s strate­gic tar­get of sur­pass­ing BMW and Mercedes-Benz in Aus­tralia by 2015.

‘‘We are grow­ing at 30 per cent year on year. Aus­tralia is eas­ily Audi’s big­gest growth mar­ket,’’ he says.

Audi has also em­barked on a $160 mil­lion Aus­tralia-wide roll­out of it’s so-called ‘‘Ter­mi­nals’’. The world’s first of th­ese im­pos­ing sil­ver-painted deal­er­ships opened ear­lier this year at Syd­ney’s Five Dock. One is also planned for Don­caster in Mel­bourne.

Small in­cen­tive: Audi’s A6 All­road (above) could soon come in en­gines smaller in size than the 3.0-litre TDI (be­low).

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