Audi R8 Coupé V10 plus: „selection 24h“

According to a report by German business magazine Der Spiegel, Audi will be subject to sweeping cost-saving exercises by the greater Volkswagen Group, following huge financial losses in the aftermath of the dieselgate scandal.

Audi boss Rupert Stadler has indicated to company staff that all future investments by the brand are now under scrutiny, the magazine understands. Possible casualties from the group-wide cost-saving exercise include Audi’s plans for a new crash test centre and wind tunnel, while its in-house MLB platform which underpins models from the A4 to the A7 could also be abandoned in favour of the group’s MQB and MSB platforms.

As for the Volkswagen brand, it’s said that the Wolfsburg-based automaker aims to reduce overall running costs by 10% in one year, as well as to improve plant efficiency by 5-8% which involves doing away with its third and weekend shifts, according to other German media reports.

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Regarding future model platforms, next A4 and A5 models are said to adopt the transverse-engine MQB layout, as shared with the VW Passat, while larger models such as the A6 and A7 are said to adopt the MSB platform, which is currently used by the Porsche Panamera. This configuration could open the the doors for rear-wheel-drive A6 and A7 variants, along with the expected all-wheel-drive quattro models.

“Audi will continue to strictly maintain the features typical of its brand, and will continue fulfilling the specific desires of Audi customers. Even when modules are used from other members of the group, an Audi will always be identifiable as an automobile with the Four Rings; that is guaranteed by more than ten thousand employees at our Technical Development division in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm and Györ,” Audi told Autocar.

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In a separate report, Audi is also understood to be wrapping up its involvement in top-tier motorsport, specifically the World Endurance Championship, including the Le Mans 24 Hours. Company insiders close to Stadler suggest the company has decided to end its participation in the top-tier LMP1 class at the end of 2017; this gives the German outfit one more chance at adding to its current sweep of 13 Le Mans wins since its first victory at Circuit De la Sarthe in 2000.

Aside from choosing to no longer showcase diesel technology on a motorsport stage, the decision to pull out of contesting the WEC also appears to be strategic. Despite the attention garnered from the famous endurance race, Volkswagen Group officials says there is only one winner at Le Mans, and the group now fields two entries, including Porsche. “Whatever way it turns out, one of our brands is deemed to lose,” said an insider.

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Alongside its reconsideration for its endurance racing programme, Audi is also said to be reconsidering its future in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) series, with insiders suggesting further restructuring in this area as well. However, support is expected to continue in the GT3 and GT4 racing classes, with possible redirection of funds to a factory-backed Formula E entry.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen Motorsport chief and Bentley chairman, Wolfgang Durheimer has apparently been ordered to streamline the group’s motorsport activities in order to free up budgets for the development of a group-wide electrification strategy that will see the introduction of 25 new electric cars by 2025.

Beyond the cars, a local German newspaper also reported that Audi had plans for a “massive investment” in an Apple-style technology campus at Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, but the plan has since been cancelled.

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