On the heels of news of Ford's massive research and development budget, approximately US$8 billion per year, the news from Audi of a €10 billion investment over five years seems somewhat more reasonable. The investment will be focused solely on the development of new models.

Audi is feeling positive this year, coming off sales the first nine months of 2007 that already exceed the previous year's sales by 8 percent. Looking further down the road, Audi sees 2012 as the goal for the expanded range to be developed under the new investment strategy. Some of the new models to come out of this infusion of capital and creativity will be the Q3, a Golf-based SUV, and the four-door coupe A7. There is even a possibility a tiny Q1 all terrain vehicle could be made. Whatever models do get made, according to design chief Wolfgang Egger, each model will be more clearly distinguishable from the rest.

Even farther out, Audi has set a goal of 1.5 million vehicles sold per year by 2015, which would effectively mean increasing the company's production by two-thirds over the next eight years. Whatever vehicles Audi decides to build, they need to be targeted not just at mass sales, but at maintaining the Audi brand image, or risk losing the core customers that made them great.