Audi revealed its subcompact A1 at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and we have now learned production of the Mini-proportioned hatchback has commenced at Audi's plant in Brussels, Belgium.
Steak sauce and motorway jokes aside, the A1 is Audi’s first premium car for the subcompact class, a segment currently defined in the U.S. by the likes of the Honda Fit and impending Ford Fiesta. The car will be launched with a bevy of standard features and four engine choices, two of which are diesel. Measuring in at 155.5 x 68.5 x 55.9 inches, it is also comparable in dimensions to a Mini Cooper and weighs just 2304 pounds, Audi claims. With affordability in mind, the Ingolstadt-based automaker hopes to sell more than just a few of its upcoming small car.
"The A1 represents an important milestone for our company," said Rupert Stadler, chairman of the Board of Management of Audi. "Firstly, we are charting new territory with the model by launching the first premium vehicle in the subcompact segment. Secondly, the new model will play an important role in helping us to once again reach the record mark of one million vehicles sold in 2010, thus continuing our success story."
Audi looks to produce 50,000 models this year and has identified a goal of 80,000 for 2011. From 2012 forward, Audi has its sights on an annual A1 production volume of 100,000 units.
"The start of production of the A1 and an investment of three hundred million euros in the Audi Brussels plant is a clear sign in favor of the automotive industry in Europe -- we are competitive here and the car is and will remain a powerful driving force for growth and innovation," said Dr. Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the parent Volkswagen Group.
The A1 will arrive at European showrooms this summer but Audi has no plans to bring it to the U.S., citing insufficient demand for such an expensive small car. What do you think? Could the A1 sell in the U.S. and would you consider one?