Buried in Audi of America’s 2007 sales report is a lofty — if vague — goal: to become “the most successful premium brand by 2015.” But what’s interesting is the company’s not talking sales (though it expects them to double in that time). It’s talking image and prestige. It wants to outsnob Mercedes.
Then there is supply and purity. The new BMW M3 convertible will soon be as common in south Florida as sixteen-dollar martinis, but Audi’s building only three hundred RS4 Cabriolets for the U. S. You get your hands on one of those and you’re Somebody. The R8, meanwhile, is a full-fledged mid-engine supercar with no BMW or Mercedes equivalent. And while BMW and Mercedes both build certain models in the U. S., all Audis are screwed together in the Fatherland by real live Germans.