GENEVA -- Audi AG is moving to simplify its product offerings in the United States and is studying ways to reduce the options, features and engines offered on its vehicles.
Ralph Weyler, Audi AG board member for sales and marketing, said in an interview here that Audi hopes to "eliminate things that do not have an adequate penetration." The company hopes to start the culling in 2007, he said.
In 2005, Audi offered 24 models in the United States, each with dozens of possible equipment and trim combinations.
Audi is reviewing what U.S. customers order on their cars and will decide in the next several weeks what features to keep, he said.
For instance, Audi is studying whether it needs to offer several engine and transmission combinations for all vehicles. It's also looking at whether to offer two sunroofs or two air conditioning systems.
"There may be an advantage to have a standard offer," Weyler said. "If only 5 percent of our buyers want cloth, we can skip it."
Having less complexity will allow Audi to more easily swap vehicles between dealers. "They have complained that our business is too complex," he said.
Only the U.S. market would be affected, he said, because Europeans haven't adopted the "I want it now," mentality of Americans, who won't wait months for delivery.
You may e-mail Diana T. Kurylko at [email protected]