AUDI’S ‘TESLA KILLER’ STANDS DOWN
We journalists who cowl the electrical automobile trade actually need to imagine automakers once they say they’re going to get critical about EVs, though we’ve been fooled so many instances. Audi’s current multi-million-dollar extravaganza for the launch of the e-tron satisfied this correspondent (and fairly just a few others) that the corporate was critical about promoting an EV in quantity. Then we heard the information that Audi doesn’t plan to ship any stock automobiles to its US sellers.
*This text involves us courtesy of EVANNEX (which additionally makes aftermarket Tesla equipment). Authored by Charles Morris. The opinions expressed in these articles will not be essentially our personal at InsideEVs.
Above: A have a look at the Audi e-tron (Picture: InsideEVs)
Audi of America President Scott Keogh tried to place a constructive spin on the choice, implying that saving the price of sustaining a listing was the one manner Audi may make a revenue on its first pure EV. “I feel it will be a wonderful world should you can go to a seller – and we’d like to search out that stunning world – with zero floorplan [expense] and correct, full gross on the automotive,” quoth he. “This might be a wonderful state; so let’s go see if we will discover this dream state.”
The state of affairs isn’t fairly as dire as Keogh’s self-defeating sarcasm (and outraged responses from a number of the EV press) makes it sound. Audi sellers may have demonstrator fashions readily available, and they’re going to have the choice of ordering e-trons for their very own stock (I anticipate some California sellers to take action, primarily based on a dialog I had on the launch occasion with a kind of sellers, who was smitten by promoting the e-tron).
Above: Audi’s e-tron from behind (Picture: InsideEVs)
Nonetheless, the gross sales mannequin Audi is proposing is that clients will place orders for the e-tron at dealerships or on Audi’s web page, held by refundable $1,000 deposits. Keogh stated that wait instances for supply will rely on world demand, and may very well be months or perhaps a 12 months or extra. All e-trons will likely be constructed at Audi’s meeting plant in Brussels.
Keogh informed Automotive Information that Audi’s seller community will give the model “an enormous aggressive benefit” over different EV-makers. On the launch occasion, one of many 300 sellers current informed me that it will be fascinating to see Tesla “fade away” because the e-tron got here into its personal. I responded to that remark with a wry smile, which has now advanced into a tragic head-shake.
Above: Audi trolled Tesla’s Elon Musk on a billboard that featured the e-tron idea in Berlin (Picture: InsideEVs by way of Audi Deutschland / Fb)
Sure, a longtime seller community is an effective factor, however sellers are famously centered on closing gross sales shortly – put your cash on the desk and drive it off the lot. They’re not prone to be thrilled a few put-down-a-deposit-and-wait gross sales mannequin. And to this point, most sellers haven’t confirmed to be enthusiastic EV-sellers. Quite the opposite, they’re usually citedas one of many major bottlenecks standing in the way in which of wider EV adoption. Right here’s what Thomas Moloughney of PlugStar, a company that goals to interrupt that bottleneck by offering EV coaching to sellers, needed to say concerning the newest information: “Very disappointing, Audi. Apart from the apparent gross sales constriction, this actually isn’t the message you need to be sending.”
As different automakers have, Audi could also be falling into the error of assuming that EVs can solely be purchased by a subset of the market known as “EV patrons.” After all such folks exist, and some of them will certainly order an e-tron. However any automaker that desires to promote an EV in quantity wants to succeed in individuals who haven’t thought-about an EV earlier than, and it’s exhausting to see how an Audi seller goes to persuade lots of them to place down a grand and wait just a few months for an e-tron once they can drive a wonderfully good gasoline or diesel-powered Audi dwelling proper now.
Above: In the meantime, in Germany, Audi’s CEO was not too long ago detained by police in reference to the dieselgate probe* (Youtube: euronews)
However, automotive patrons’ habits are altering, and so they could get used to ordering automobiles on-line extra shortly than we expect. Electrek studies that in Norway, Audi has already logged some 6,300 advance reservations for the e-tron (second solely to the Tesla Mannequin three, which has an estimated 10,000 Norwegian orders on the books).
Written by: Charles Morris; Supply: Automotive Information; *Editor’s Word: In response to Bloomberg, Audi’s dieselgate probe resulted in a effective of 800 million euros ($927 million) to settle its investigation by German prosecutors into the carmaker’s unlawful emissions associated to roughly 5 million diesel vehicles (with software program “cheat” gadgets) bought within the U.S. and Europe.
*Editor’s Word: EVANNEX, which additionally sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share a few of its content material with our readers, freed from cost. Our thanks exit to EVANNEX. Take a look at the positioning right here.