Audi A1 Cancelled Amid New Emissions Regulations

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Stricter emissions standards from the European Union are affecting the production of new cars for carmakers like Audi.
According to Jalopnik, Audi CEO Markus Duesmann said the company won’t have a successor to the Audi A1. That’s because offering combustion engines in the smaller segment in the future will be more difficult as costs increase, causing Audi to say it is leaving the segment.

Audi responds to changing emissions standards

An Audi A1 Sportback
An Audi A1| Audi
Audi is not the only automaker questioning its strategy for small cars due to increasingly strict regulations on tailpipe emissions, especially CO2.
According to Jalopnik, the European Union says the industry has to reduce its fleet CO2 average to 95 grams per kilometer this year, a decrease from 106.7 g/km last year.
The struggle for carmakers is that it’s tough for them to get CO2 levels in small cars to below the 95 g/km average unless they include some form of electrification—and making a hybrid car also increases costs.
While this might not be a problem for producing luxury cars or SUVs, automakers are instead having problems with the costs associated with producing hybrid subcompact cars, where profit margins are already thin—which is why we see companies like Audi discontinuing certain models.

Audi’s new cars

When Duesmann revealed Audi would be discontinuing the Audi A1, he also noted that the company was moving away from plug-in hybrids and instead going to full-electric vehicles as soon as possible, according to Carscoops.
In fact, Audi reportedly plans to only launch electric vehicles starting in 2026 and eliminate internal combustion engines (except in China) by 2033.
But Duesmann also pointed out that there will be big differences between different regions of the world when it comes to the future powertrain mix. For instance, the CEO thinks that internal combustion engine models will account for less than 20% of sales in Europe by 2030, with an expectation that numbers in Europe and the U.S. will be higher.

Future models from Audi

It’s not known exactly when the A1 will be discontinued, but Carscoops thinks the model still has several years to go since the hatchback was redesigned in 2018.
Sales of the Audi A1 have also decreased in recent years. In 2016, Audi moved 96,576 units in Europe, which dropped to 77,868 in 2019. In 2020, that decreased even further to 58,224. But as Carscoops points out, at least part of last year’s decline can be blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Audi’s Grand Sphere concept reportedly gives a glimpse of what future models will look like. It will be unveiled at the inaugural 2021 Munich Motor Show in Germany in September, with the first production version expected in 2024.
In addition to the Grand Sphere, which has been described as a “large sedan,” Audi has teased two other electric concept cars that are also expected to be unveiled in the next year: the Sky Sphere and the Urban Sphere.
The Sky Sphere will reportedly be a two-door with large wheels, a long hood, and a low roofline, while the Urban Sphere appears to be like a large SUV.

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