Audi AG is preparing a massive product assault to double its annual global sales to 1.5 million by 2015, supplier sources say.
The internal target is far more ambitious than Audi's public goal of 1 million by 2007 or 2008 from 779,000 units last year.
To achieve such a huge gain, the Volkswagen group's premium brand plans to greatly increase its product line, emphasize high-margin S-performance models and quattro all-wheel-drive technology, and create vehicles that are more distinct from parent VW.
Audi also plans to expand the number of body styles each time a core model is replaced and add crossovers, sports cars and niche models.
"Audi recognizes it must have many more product offerings to compete directly with BMW and Mercedes-Benz," one supplier source said. "And it is determined to do so."
Audi's product assault between now and 2008 includes two premium SUVs -- the Q7 and the smaller Q5 -- a new four-seat coupe that will have a cabriolet version, and a production version of the Le Mans supercar concept.
The strategy also includes offering more body styles for each core model when they are replaced. For example, the current A3 has three- and five-door variants. Its replacement will have those versions plus a four-door sedan, a coupe and perhaps a convertible.
A crucial element in this product offensive is a new vehicle architecture that Audi has created for its larger sedans, code-named B-C-D.
The B-C-D platform is flexible in terms of length, wheelbase and width, sources say. It will be used for the A4 and A6 replacements.
The next A8 will continue to have its own aluminum spaceframe, but it will share B-C-D components and modules.
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