|Ingolstadt, February 4, 2000
Audi goes on the offensive
From the Audi AG press release
Audi is offering the owners of the sports car TT the chance to have their vehicle retrofitted with the Electronic Stability Program (ESP). This was announced by Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, at a press conference in Munich today. The announcement comes in response to growing uncertainty among TT customers. This has been provoked by criticism about the handling of the Audi sports car and increasing reports of accidents. Customers are also starting to worry that this will result in a considerably lower resale value for the TT without ESP.
"I wish to apologise formally to our TT customers for the uncertainty which has emerged in the last few months. Our offensive is intended to put an end to this uncertainty," declared Paefgen.
According to Paefgen, the company has continued to work intensively on analysing the handling of the Audi TT, at the same time looking for suitable solutions to satisfy customers. In order to provide an objective assessment of the car's handling performance, TÜV Süddeutschland (South German Technical Inspection Association) was commissioned to carry out a detailed inspection of the Audi TT compared with the competition. TÜV's summary: "The Audi TT - including its original versions - is, compared with the competition, a better-than-average sports car and is in keeping with the state of the art."
As Paefgen remarked, Audi is very satisfied with this result as it confirms Audi's statements in their entirety. But customer letters have made it clear that a satisfactory solution can only be found if ESP is retrofitted. Audi had always stressed that retrofitting work as complex as this is not technically possible at the workshops of Audi dealerships. It can now be performed on an industrial scale. An assembly hall specially converted for this purpose at the Ingolstadt site will soon allow ESP to be retrofitted in accordance with high technical and quality standards.
Thanks to this series-like process, vehicles retrofitted in this way will be fully equivalent in all respects to the latest applicable series production status. This will dispel fears in particular of a value loss compared with current models with ESP.
ESP was introduced as standard equipment for the TT in the course of model enhancement measures at the end of last year. At the same time the list price in Germany was increased by DM 650. The same price difference will be charged for retrofitting, which Audi is now offering optionally.
The retrofitting of vehicles is expected to commence at the end of March. Paefgen: "We will be able to retrofit more than 20,000 vehicles within six months." All customers will be provided with a loan vehicle free of charge while their car is being retrofitted.
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