SAN FRANCISCO -- With the launch of Audi's redesigned A6 sedan last week, Audi of America Inc. has embarked on a product blitz that will continue into 2006.
Audi's 260 U.S. dealers have been waiting for the products - including a new entry-level Audi model - as sales slid 9.7 percent through October.
Dealers have begun receiving the 2005 A6 with company assurances that its quality is improved. The outgoing model, sold here for seven model years, had 11 recalls.
"Audi AG Chairman Martin Winterkorn is an engineer, and his emphasis is on quality," says Axel Mees, vice president in charge of Audi of America Inc. "He gets involved personally with each defect."
Audi expects to sell 22,500 of the new A6s during 2005.
The outgoing A6 had its best year in 2000 with U.S. sales of 30,487.
Next in the product blitz is an A8 sedan with a W-12 - a 6.0-liter, 12-cylinder gasoline-powered engine that generates 450 hp. The car goes on sale in January.
That will be followed by the redesigned A4 sedan and wagon in March and the high-performance S4 sedan in April.
The A4 is Audi's best-selling U.S. car, with sales of 30,905 through October.
In May, Audi launches the A3 Sportback. The five-door hatchback becomes the new entry-level vehicle in the Audi of America lineup. Based on the next-generation Volkswagen Golf, the A3 will be the main contributor to sales growth, Mees says.