Look out M and AMG, Audi is planning an assault to grow its RennSport tuning arm and see an RS variant sit atop every model in its range.
Speaking exclusively to Wheels at the launch of the new RS7 and all-new RS Q3, Audi Australia boss Andrew Doyle revealed more RS models are already in the pipeline, with the brand keen to grow its performance credentials.
“I love performance cars, so I’d love to say we’ll have an RS variant for each model, but I can’t confirm that,” Doyle said. “But I know there’s a clear message from Audi AG that Audi Sport will only grow bigger and quattro GmbH will only get bigger.
“Audi, in the past, hasn’t had multiple RS models at one time and now we have seven, which I think is a wonderful thing. So I’m always open to more RS models and more high performance products. Plus, it’s clear from our sales that the Australian consumer has a real appreciation for our RS derivatives.”
Audi Australia’s RS performance arm grew 172.2 percent in 2013 to sell 1121 vehicles, nearly double BMW’s M Division (623), yet still behind Mercedes-Benz’s performance arm AMG (1650).
Seven percent of all Audi sales in 2013 were RS models, up on three percent the previous year.
But Doyle is tipping even stronger growth in 2014, with Australia earmarked to become just the second market for the brand’s new ‘Audi Sport Sales Concept’, which will see an RS shop incorporated into select showrooms.
“At the end of the day, we’ve been short-selling our credentials,” he said. “There’s not many brands, when you look at our rivals, that have such a strong motorsport heritage as our brand, so by all means we want to strengthen the RS brand. We’re pushing hard in that direction and I certainly don’t think more models will dilute the RS brand or anything like that.”
Doyle wouldn’t be drawn on what the next RS model would be, but hinted that an RS Q5 could be a logical choice.
“Look, it could be a number of models,” he said. “But we’ve had outstanding success with the SQ5 and you can say that was a bit of a no-brainer. The Q5 is such a strong-selling car, to offer it with more performance was only going to boost sales.
“We’re planning to have 60 Audi models by 2020 – we’re currently at around 49-50 and we have another 10 confirmed for production – so we’ve got a very, very exciting horizon.
“Audi has just invested $A30 billion between now and 2018 into new infrastructure, the majority of which is going into new products.”