As people are continuing to favour crossovers and SUVs over saloons and hatchbacks, it’s natural to expect some traditional automotive segments to disappear in the near future.
The small car segment as we know it - with small three- and four-cylinder combustion engines - is probably living on borrowed time as there are indications from different automakers that these are about to be retired during the next decade or so. Audi is the latest manufacturer to confirm its entry-level model will be discontinued.
In a long and very interesting interview with Automotive News (see the source link at the bottom of this article), Audi CEO Markus Duesmann has confirmed the A1 will be retired after its current generation. As far as we understand it, this doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a small Audi-badged model but it won’t use combustion power. When asked about whether Europe’s upcoming Euro 7 emissions standards will spell the end of the A1 and A3, Duesmann said:
“A lot will depend on the final Euro 7 target. We know that offering combustion engines in the smaller segments in the future will be pretty difficult because the costs will go up. Therefore, we won't have a successor to the A1. If the new Euro 7 rules are not too harsh, it will allow us to invest more in e-mobility.”
Audi head honcho hinted about the possible discontinuation of the A1 in February this year when he explained it’s costly and economically unprofitable to electrify small cars. Once the A1 goes out of production, the Q2 will likely become Audi’s entry-level offering as the automaker “might not do anything smaller.”
As far as the other models from the range are concerned, by 2030 Duesmann expects the brand’s family to consist of different powertrains depending on the region. While Audi believes “combustion engines to account for less than 20 percent in Europe,” the situation could be “different in China and in the US.”