How Audi Canada's parent, Audi AG, could postpone products that fit the needs of Canadian, and even American buyers, seems more than odd until you compare Audi's sales in North America to its sales in China.
Aha! Through the first two months of this year, Audi China delivered 76,884 vehicles, compared to 23,372 combined in Canada and the United States. China is three times as important as North America, sales-wise.
Audi has been focusing on China with laser-like precision, just like other German auto companies. And Chinese buyers have been snapping up German vehicles at a ferocious rate. While the A3 has a role, it's certainly not as important in China as it will be in Canada when the new version arrives this spring.
Thus, Audi Canada had to make do for most of last year without a new compact A3 in its lineup. Lacking a reinvented A3, Audi Canada's sales in 2013 were flat. The soon-to-arrive new A3 is also why Audi Canada president Wolfgang Hoffmann insists that sales in 2014 will jump significantly.
That said, he would have loved to have seen the new A3 in showrooms last year. What he won't and can't say is that Canada is a little down on the list of priorities back home at Audi headquarters in Ingolstadt – certainly below China. If we ranked higher, the A3 would have been rushed to dealer showrooms at light-speed.
Product cadence, the rate at which new models are introduced, is a big deal at Audi. At Audi's annual conference this month, company officials pointed to the launch of 17 new models this year alone, on the heels of 15 new ones and derivatives last year.
Canadians can look forward to not just the A3, then. Also coming are at least four other interesting new offerings: the A3 e-tron hatchback, a new Q3 small SUV, a freshening to the A8 and a new TT sports car.
Audi Canada is going to have a busy 2014.
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