Audi hopes TT gets by on its appears


Execs cling to car whose design and style made ‘brand statement’;

Sporty coupes sizzle, fizzle
The Audi TT, like other sporty coupes, started out off robust but tailed off, even after the April 2007 redesign. Audi hopes the third-generation TT’;s styling modifications within and out will support revive the nameplate.

It’;s constantly tough to give up on a traditional. And that explains why Audi of America is bringing back the TT rather than pulling the plug on it.

The sporty coupe will arrive in the United States in 2015, Audi of America President Scott Keogh mentioned. His executives hope to rekindle America’;s enjoy affair with the authentic TT, which went on sale in 1999, and to defy market forces that hammered the sporty coupe class and induced revenue of the TT to fall by 2-thirds from the car’;s very first generation to its second.

The reworked TT, unveiled this month at the Geneva car display, is a fresh styling statement for the brand, with new, much more angular versions of Audi’;s Singleframe grille and LED headlights. Its interior is a departure, as well — most notably the decision to change the center console screen with a display in the instrument cluster.

Blake Robust, a Salt Lake City dealer whose household has offered Audis given that 1969, mentioned he will be glad to have a redesigned TT in the showroom. The authentic TT was “our breakthrough second with the American public, saying we’;re going to start off making some vehicles that have actually remarkable design,” Strong explained. “To stroll away from that would be foolish, so I’;m excited to see Audi sticking with it. But it’;s a niche vehicle.”

Nonetheless, the TT is symbolically essential to Audi as a firm.

Just ask Filip Brabec, director of item preparing at Audi of America. When Brabec joined Audi in 1998, the brand had 4 U.S. merchandise lines, 3 of them sedans. The outlier was the Cabriolet convertible, which was based mostly on an aging platform and was marketing at a clip of barely 1,000 units per year. Then along came the TT.

“This auto, at the time, was just so related,” Brabec stated. “This was the emerging marketplace: ‘I can have a truly tiny, entertaining vehicle from Europe.’; And for Audi, it was such a brand statement, simply because the 1st car was so purist. It was all about Bauhaus layout. It was all about type following perform.”

The TT, styled by a star-studded cast of designers that incorporated J Mays and Peter Schreyer, grabbed consideration with its rounded, industrial-searching form. Americans ate it up.

Strong known as the TT the brand’;s “Apple Macintosh minute,” akin to the 1984 introduction of the iconic pc. He received nostalgic just thinking about it.

“The way that minor industrial nut-and-bolt attribute was featured all by means of the car,” Powerful explained. “The baseball glove seats. That small short-shift. That was a fantastic small car.”

You can attain Gabe Nelson at gnelson@crain.com.

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