Audi‘s new A1 will be a “strong aspirational fleet proposition” when it arrives in the supermini sector during 2010 and the premium hatchback will be no more expensive than Ford‘s top of the range new Fiesta Titanium at £13,695.

An Audi spokesman, claimed the A1 would “tick all the business car boxes with outstanding residual values, good CO2 ratings and very competitive whole life costs”.

With the A1 Audi is likely to be the first of the VW Group’s brands to harness the new B-segment or VW Polo platform, and qualify for sub 100g/km status using a 1.4-litre diesel engine, while several other A1 models should have sub 120g/km ratings.

Unlike the pioneering but limited volume A2, the A1 does not use a specialised lightweight aluminium construction. The Audi’s wheelbase will be longer and its track wider than VW, Skoda and Seat supermini counterparts.

The spokesman said the A4’s success in the upper medium segment with 5% of class sales provided a “good aiming point” for the A1 to emulate among superminis. He conceded the smaller car would “need to go some” to approach the A4’s 80% fleet split in a sector where corporate sales account for around 30% of the total.

“Ford makes quantum leaps with every new generation of car but it does not seem to conquer brand resistance. Due to anticipated high RVs and prices no more expensive than the top flight Fiesta the A1 could and should have lower cost of ownership levels,” he said.

If Audi’s A1 comes to market before the next generation Polo it will repeat history. The Audi 50 upstaged VW’s original Polo in the mid 1970s.