MUNICH, Germany -- Audi AG likely will put its Le Mans quattro concept car into production.
A decision could be made before year end. Production of the two-passenger, midengine sports car could start as early as next year.
The Le Mans quattro, which is expected to be sold in the United States, would be an image booster for Audi. It would give the German brand a challenger to the Porsche 911 in the premium coupe and roadster segment.
The concept car was shown at the Frankfurt auto show in September. It is based on the Lamborghini Gallardo architecture.
But the build quality of the Gallardo is unsatisfactory for an Audi, a source close to the project said.
"Everything about the Le Mans is under review, including the Gallardo's supplier base," he said
Lamborghini and Audi are both Volkswagen group subsidiaries.
The Le Mans likely would be built at Audi's plant in Neckarsulm, Germany. The plant produces aluminum space frames for the Gallardo.
Audi is working to make the Le Mans and Gallardo different.
"The Le Mans will have less power, and it will be a more usable car," another Audi source said
The Le Mans is not expected to get the Gallardo's V-10 engine. It is more likely to be equipped with V-8 engines, possibly turbocharged.
While the Le Mans' future looks promising, Audi's Nuvolari project is almost certainly dead, an Audi source said.
The two-door coupe was shown as a concept car at the Geneva auto show in March 2003. The concept was based on the A8 platform.