Audi claims that the driving factor behind its upcoming range of electric cars is customer demand and not tightening emissions norms around the world.
Fermin Soniera Santos, head of product marketing at Audi told Car Advice at the e-Tron’s global launch in San Francisco that the brand’s EVs are “market driven.”
“Of course, regulations are pushing the whole industry and electrification is a solution for the whole industry, and maybe the speed is a little faster [than market demand, but] the customer will not care about the regulations, they will buy the car if it’s competitive and a good deal,” Santos said.
Audi’s statement does not seem to ring true, however. At the Geneva Motor Show this year, BMW stated in no uncertain terms that it was building electric cars as an answer to emissions requirements and not entirely due to customer demand. If a similarly positioned carmaker is accepting that customer demand is not the reason for its push into electric vehicles, it is difficult to believe the same does not hold true for Audi.
Notwithstanding the make-believe statements, Audi is confident of its e-Tron SUV and believes it has the mass appeal of a vehicle enabling it to post healthy sales. The company states that the electric crossover isn’t being sold as a niche car, but as a regular model in its present lineup. “It has to be market driven, we are very confident that the e-Tron will satisfy all customer expectations and also from the sales point. At Audi, we don’t make EVs because of CO2 [regulations], we make EVs because the customer wants to buy it.”
Places like California, where the e-Tron was launched this week, and a few European cities will likely mandate a certain percentage of total car sales to be electric in the near future. Manufacturers like Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo have been forced to alter their strategy accordingly. But the desire for electric cars is also coming from customers according to Audi.
Following the e-Tron’s premiere, the German carmaker announced a total of 12 all-electric models will join its product lineup. EVs are expected to make up roughly a third of Audi’s total sales by 2025.