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Audi to extend U.S. diesel offerings with A4 sedan

Tue, 12 Mar 2013

U.S. consumers will have the option of a TDI engine in Audi AG's next-generation A4 sedan, the automaker said today, expanding a campaign to sell more diesel engines in the United States.

A new version of the A4, Audi's longtime U.S. best-seller, is set to arrive in 2014. Audi skipped the current sedan in November when it announced plans to offer four more TDI models in the United States.

Speaking to reporters today, Audi of America President Scott Keogh said U.S. dealerships will be able to get the A4 with a 2-liter TDI engine after the new generation arrives. As with a recent U.S. diesel push by Audi's sibling brand, Volkswagen, the decision reflects a strategy to meet rising corporate average fuel economy standards without sacrificing torque.

Even though diesel fuel costs more at the pump than regular unleaded gasoline in the United States, brands such as Jeep, Chevrolet and Mazda have recently unveiled diesel models to take advantage of their better fuel economy.

Audi had hinted at plans to bring a TDI version of the A4 to the United States, but the company decided to wait until the A4's redesign, Keogh said.

"This deep in its life cycle, it didn't make any sense to do all that dramatic re-engineering and re-architecting of the car to basically only have a two-year selling period," he said during a phone call after Audi AG's annual press conference in Ingolstadt, Germany.

Audi sold 35,415 units of the A4 or its S4 performance variant last year in the United States, accounting for one in four of the 139,310 Audis sold in the country.

In the United States, Audi offers a TDI engine in the Q7 crossover and the outgoing A3 hatchback, which will be replaced in 2014 with the new A3 sedan.

The brand said at the Los Angeles Auto Show that it will offer a diesel engine in the Q5 crossover, as well as the A6, A7 and A8 high-end sedans. The A8 diesel goes on sale in the spring and the other three models will follow in the fall.

Audi considered outfitting the next A4 with a 3-liter TDI engine, like the one used in the Q7. Keogh said Audi decided sales would be too low to justify that investment.

By Gabe Nelson- Automotive News