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So you think that diesel vehicles aren’t that popular in the United States – well, think again. Audi said today that it will add diesel variant to every volume product in the United States within 5 years as it moves to meet stricter fuel-economy targets while satisfying consumer demand. Audi said that it will eventually add diesel variants of the Audi A8, A6 and the Q5. The next-generation Audi A4 is also likely to receive a 4-cylinder diesel engine by 2015.

“We will roll out the technology across the Audi line,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi of America.

Audi said that there is a sharp increase in consumer demand towards diesels, which have been tough to sell to Americans who have come to believe that diesels are bad for the environment.

“Dealers are telling us that there is significant consumer demand”
across the Audi portfolio for diesel, spokesman Jeff Kuhlman said.

Audi currently sells 2 diesel vehicles in the U.S. and has a tough time keeping them in stock. Sales for diesels account 1/2 of the A3 hatch and nearly 40% of Q7 SUV sales. de Nysschen said diesel sales could account for up to 20% of Audi’s total sales in the United States by 2015. Today they account for 5.5%.
 

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Hybrids


INGOLSTADT, Germany – Audi has big plans for its electric vehicle business.

"By 2020, we want to be the leading premium seller of electric vehicles,"
Franciscus van Meel, Audi's manager for electric mobility strategy, said at a recent technical workshop at the company's headquarters here.

"We will successively bring out a variety of hybrid models and electric vehicles, such as our first plug-in hybrid in 2014,
" he said, without sharing more details on the plug-in hybrid.

Audi's alternative powertrain plan includes: full-hybrid versions of the A8 upper-premium sedan and Q5 SUV, both due in late 2011; a hybrid A6 that is likely to arrive in 2012; plus a range of high-priced electric cars starting with the limited-edition battery-powered e-tron version of the R8 supercar in 2012.

Audi set up the e-tron division to develop and produce EVs. The brand's electric-car approach is different from that of rival BMW AG, which is developing the smaller so-called Megacity Vehicle designed for urban commuting. The Megacity Vehicle is due to launch in 2013.

"Today we're assuming that our sales of Audi e-tron electric cars will rise to a 6-figure volume by 2020," van Meel said.

By 2020, Audi wants to increase the efficiency of its internal combustion engines by 30% and wants 5% of the brand's lineup to be electric, Michael Dick, Audi's board member for technology, said earlier this year.

To help it meet that goal, Audi recently opened a 65 million euro (about $89 million), 14,000-square-meter electric-drive development and test center at its headquarters. It plans to hire 840 people to help develop electric powertrains and batteries.

Audi parent Volkswagen AG wants the group to be No. 1 in hybrid and electric cars before the end of the decade, increasing its EV market share to 3% of its forecast global sales of 10 million vehicles by 2018.

Globally, VW Group plans to launch a full-electric version of its Up minicar, the E-Up, E-Golf and E-Jetta in 2013.
 
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