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Audi expects driver switch from A4 to A5 Sportback

Date: 24 July 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young

Audi's fleet boss Iain Carmichael expects a substantial switch to the A5 Sportback from user-choosers which would have chosen, or are already in an A4 saloon.

Speaking exclusively to BusinessCar ahead of the A5 Sportback launch, Carmichael said: "There will be substitutional sales from the A4, but we're not worried by that, even at 30-40% substitution, that still means growth for Audi."

He added: "It also helps residual values - it takes some of the volume pressure off the A4. That's the whole strategy for growing the model range. We could sell more A3s and A4s. We've got a 23,000-strong order bank across the total range at the moment, 40% of which is fleet, and we could ramp up production but it's the wrong thing to do as it would harm RVs."

Audi has a 33 model line-up at the moment an plans to have 40 models by 2015. Currently, Audi's biggest fleet seller is the five-door A3, and in particular, the eco 'e' version.

"I don't think the A5 Sportback will be as big a seller as A4 saloon, but it depends on the costs. We expect the A5 Sportback to be our sixth best seller in 2010 in fleet behind the A3 Sportback, A4 saloon, A4 Avant, A6 saloon and A5 coupe," said Carmichael.

"We still do 2-3% rental on buy-back to feed the used car network. I want that business, it's a paid-for test drive.

"Order times are an issue. When they get to 20 weeks people stop ordering. For us 14-16 weeks is what we want, any less and it's a stocking issue. It's a positive issue waiting three months for a premium product," he said.

The A5 goes on sale at the end of the year, with the best selling version being the 170PS 2.0-litre TDI.