HONG KONG, May 8 — Motorists have taken to driving Audis like no other make of car on mainland Chinese roads and just how important the Chinese consumer is to the German car maker was reflected in the company’s presence at last week’s Auto China 2012.
China’s largest motoring show — an event which drew more than 800,000 people through its doors — saw Audi unveil three models for the first time anywhere and four more for the first time in Asia.
Leading the way was the A6L e-tron concept, basically an electric plug-in hybrid version of Audi’s A6L sedan.
The car maker claims the model can run up to 80km with zero emissions following one full charge of electricity and Audi had the particular car on show in Beijing custom-fit for Chinese motorists, with an extra-large rear passenger area (to suit car owners who employ drivers) and a navigation system that recognises Chinese handwriting.
Local tastes were also to the fore in the Audi Q3 “jinlong yufeng” model — unveiled for the first time alongside the Q3 RS concept car. “Jinlong yufeng” roughly translates to “golden dragon riding the wind” and Audi tailor made the SUV model for the current Year of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac, with golden paint on the exterior (the colour of royalty) and such extravagant features as twin portable “Audi-cam” cameras mounted on the trunk and able to stream photos into the car via its wireless network.
One unique feature of the car is the carbon-fibre polymer boards on the rooftop, designed for kite surfers, along with a special kite pouch which Audi claims can also be used by non-kite surfers to tuck away wet clothing after a trip to the beach.
The Q3 RS concept SUV, meanwhile, comes powered by a 2.5-litre, inline-five petrol-turbo engine that Audi says can go from 0-100kph in 5.2 seconds and tops out at 265kph.
And while the actual cost of these fancy new motors was not revealed at Auto China 2012, the people at Audi were keen to push just what it felt about the role it plays in the world’s biggest car market.
“We believe and we feel the importance of China as our second home market,” president of the Audi Sales Division at FAW Volkswagen, Dominique Boesch, told mainland Chinese media.
Audi last year established itself as the leading premium car in China with deliveries made of more than 300,000 units, while over the first three months of this year the company shifted 90,000 units, a year-on-year rise of 41 per cent. — AFP-Relaxnews