A time has come when all the luxury car manufacturers are developing products for the entry-level luxury segments, bridging the gap between the premium and luxury cars. The reason being, growing incomes of people worldwide, and a desire to own such luxury cars. While India has recently seen this concept, international markets are witnessing it for as long as 20 years.
Manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz developed A-Class, CLA-Class cars, BMW made 1-Series and X1 and Jaguar is ready with XE. But not many know that it was the Audi, who manufactured the first entry level luxury vehicle, way back in 1995 and we know it as the A3. Yes, Audi is celebrating 20 successful years of A3 with over 3.6 million units sold worldwide.
The first Audi A3 rolled out on 18th September, 1995 from the company's headquarters in Ingolstadt and is in its third generation now. Audi has so far produced 3,647,833 units of the sedan, which was initially available only in 3-door and 5-door hatchback styles. Audi added other body types of the A3 including the five-door Sportback, the sedan and the Cabriolet body styles.
"20 years of the Audi A3 - that is 20 years of success in the compact class. Back then, we founded a new segment with the A3. Today, the high-volume A3 family is a fixed component of our model lineup," says Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl, Audi Board Member for production. "Two decades of the Audi A3 - and behind it a highly qualified production team. Without them, such a success story would not have been conceivable."
The success of the A3 can be judged from the fact that out of every 5 Audi sold worldwide, 1 belongs to the A3 family. Surprisingly, Audi added the A3 to its product portfolio of India only last year, with the sedan body type initially, followed by the cabriolet version later. Audi also assembles the A3 in their Aurangabad based plant, which has till now assembled 10000 units.
Apart from the Ingolstandt based plant, which only manufacturers the hatchback version of the car, the Audi A3 is also manufactured in Hungary, where sedan and cabriolet are manufactured. China, which is again a big market manufacturers the sedan and sportback body type, while a new facility is coming up in Brazil. In 2014 alone, Ausi A3 sold 188, 465 units.
"The Audi A3 is a very strong pillar for protecting jobs. That is why the Works Council supports continued production of such important models here at the home plant in Ingolstadt. Job growth over the past 20 years alone confirms that is the right path," said an ecstatic Peter Mosch, Chairman of the Audi General Works Council.