The Audi A1 hatchback sold overseas is currently into its second generation but there might not be a third, Autocar reported on Wednesday based on comments made by Audi CEO Markus Duesmann at Tuesday's reveal of the E-Tron GT super sedan.
“In the A1 segment, we have some other brands [in the Volkswagen Group] who are active there and very successful, with very high production, so we do question the A1 at the moment,” he said.
The A1 competes in the subcompact segment, where shoppers are usually focused more on price than prestige. But as cities become more crowded, shoppers with cash to burn may still appreciate a tiny car. As a result, Audi may end up replacing the A1 with a subcompact electric car sold at a premium, similar to how it already sells the Q2 subcompact crossover SUV.
Audi AI:ME concept
Audi has already attempted an eco-focused subcompact with the aluminum-bodied A2 that was offered in select markets in the early 2000s. The automaker ended up replacing that model with the more conventional A1 but the time might be right for the return of the A2, or something like it, given today's increased focus on environmental awareness.
Audi has presented us with two concepts for a modern A2 in the past decade. The first was the electric A2 hatch concept unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt International Motor Show and the second was the AI:ME concept, also an electric hatch, unveiled at Auto Shanghai 2019.
And we know Volkswagen Group's MEB dedicated EV platform can support subcompact cars. Volkswagen is expected to launch one in the coming years, most likely badged an ID.1.
Duesmann also hinted that buyers should get used to Audi phasing out some of its internal-combustion model lines as it introduces its new EVs, mentioning the similarities between the Q3/Q3 Sportback and upcoming Q4 E-Tron/Q4 Sportback E-Tron.
“As we look at Q4 E-Tron, we have a model where we have similar combustion-engine-powered models, and certainly we don’t want to have the same portfolio electrically,” he said. “We make purpose-built electric cars because we can offer more functionality, so we will certainly cut back our combustion portfolio in the next 10 years.”
Perhaps this will start with the A1 making way for an A2 E-Tron. Stay tuned.