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Daily rental deals leave old Audi A3 in oversupply

Date: 08 October 2013   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Audi has admitted that daily rental deals scored late in the life of the previous-generation A3 have come home to roost with a potential impact on residual values, as the cars have made their way onto the used market.

Recent reports from Glass's Guide (see BusinessCar 6 August 2013, 'Audi A3s flood used car market') suggested that the residual values of the previous generation, lower medium A3 were in line to take a fall because a larger than expected number of them had hit the used car market.

Glass's said "a very high number of 12/12 plate" A3 Sportbacks had appeared on the market in summer.

Speaking to BusinessCar, Audi UK's director, Martin Sander, said: "There were quite a few old A3 Sportbacks that went into daily rental last year. To be brutally honest, the timing was not perfect. We're down to the last cars to be sold now, so that's gone. The good news is that we don't have anything like that at the moment."

Run-out versions of the previous-generation A3 Sportback would have been available into very early 2013. Sander added that the company has taken steps to reduce the amount of rental it does throughout this year.

"This year, our rental volume is down. The new A3's RVs are exceptionally strong, so I don't expect any harm. This [series of rental deals] was a one-off thing. There is nothing similar in the pipeline," he said.

Sander added that Audi had declined to follow suit with other fleet manufacturers within the VW Group (Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda) and eschewed the agency sales model, which deals with how the company supplies the contract hire industry, in favour of direct sales.

"We decided not to go with agency and stick with the current model because it was successful. [Agency is] not necessarily the best model for us because we have much smaller operators, so we see no significant advantage in the agency model at the moment.

We consulted with the leasing companies and they said 'you know what, don't change'."

Meanwhile, Sander will take up a new role within Audi with responsibility for America from 1 October, and will be replaced by André Konsbruck, who moves from an executive director role at the company's German headquarters.