April 19, 2001

2001 New York Auto Show Audi Press Conference Speech by Len Hunt

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today marks a "first" in three respects for Audi: one, and most importantly of course, we are about to witness the launch of the new Audi A4 in North America. However, today also marks the first time that I will not detail our recent sales results at the beginning of an auto show speech. That is, if I can resist the temptation of telling you about our best-ever first quarter results...

Lastly, another subject I will not go into detail on is our continuously successful motorsports campaign. And most of you know that is really hard for me... especially with Le Mans around the corner and considering the excitement generated from the race last year when we finished first, second, and third; and then took the overall championship in the 2000 American Le Mans series. And of course, I hope you all saw our 1-2-3-4 finish at the 12-hours of Sebring last month, one of the most historic races in North America.

Ok, like I said I'm not mentioning them... Now back to the business at hand. In adopting this approach, I want to really underscore the significance of the new A4 for Audi.

The new A4 that I will be presenting to you is now the sixth generation of this model. The history of this particular Audi model began in Europe 29 years ago with the Audi 80, a vehicle we brought to the U.S. in 1987. The model which succeeded it in 1995, under the current name of Audi A4, has been one of the best-selling models in its segments, despite stiff competition, with well over one and a half million sold world-wide.

It also can be said that the current generation A4 was the product that spurred the revitalization of the brand in North America. And it has continued to play a most significant roll with the success of our sales since it's introduction. It is largely because of the A4s steadiness that we were able to celebrate an all-time sales record last year in the U.S.

Now instead of waiting until the end of my presentation, and showing you a bunch of still photos of the vehicle, I'd like to ask the help of the Audi brand specialists, to come and pull the wraps off the new 2002 Audi A4.

As you can see, Ladies and Gentlemen, the entirely redesigned sixth-generation of this model - the new A4 - now follows in a grand tradition. Not the easiest of tasks, because we know that this Audi is faced with proving itself in an intensely competitive environment.

We are nevertheless confident that this new generation will be even more successful than the previous one. And we have good reason to be confident.

We asked ourselves how we could make a new, even more successful car out of such an acclaimed product as the A4, while preserving a sense of continuity.

First, we carefully analyzed the wishes of many drivers of the A4, as well as your comments from the press. There wasn't really much that the thousands of A4 drivers thought needed improving. The feedback we heard was mainly on more interior space and improved ride quality.

So we addressed their needs with a significant improvement in space for the driver and passengers, and a redesigned suspension layout. This combination leaves little to be desired of the new A4.

Next, we brought all equipment on the vehicle up to the latest state-of-the-art. One new feature I'd like to announce is the inclusion of an interactive telematics program. Audi will partner with OnStar, the in-vehicle safety, security, information and convenience service, to offer "Audi Telematics by OnStar." And joining us today in the audience is the OnStar President, Chet Huber. Chet why don't you stand up and give the group a wave.

Some of the features our Audi owners will be able to do is retrieve personalized Internet-based information like e-mail and news reports, or make hands-free cellular phone calls. Audi Telematics by OnStar will be available throughout the product line.

Additionally, the new A4 is distinguished by a comprehensive safety concept:

The body is designed for maximum rigidity and is 45 percent stiffer. The structure of the cabin is designed so that occupants enjoy maximum protection in a crash, irrespective of the direction of impact. And the Sideguard airbag system is again a standard-fit item on the A4.

The new A4 will also be one of the first models in the industry available with the new optimized side airbag design for out-of-position occupants.

We have further perfected the already exclusive equipment of the predecessor model, in terms of both the materials used and ergonomic design. As soon as you take a seat behind the wheel of the new A4, you will notice that the driver's area has been completely redesigned: we examined the interplay of the seat, steering wheel, gear lever and all controls, and brought it in line with the driver's requirements. The outcome is a clearly structured cockpit with optimum ergonomics.

There is one thing whose benefits you unfortunately won't be able to experience today, and that is the new suspension. It is the latest generation of Audi's revolutionary four-link front suspension and a new fully independent suspension in the rear. It's this suspension which gives the new A4 a form of on-road behavior that has previously been preserved exclusively for rear-wheel-drive models.

We believe the outcome strikes an optimum balance between dynamic characteristics and driving safety.

The new A4 is available with two, powerful engines: the turbocharged 170-horsepower 1.8 liter, four-cylinder engine which is the first turbocharged engine in the industry to be certified with ULEV standards. And an ultramodern three-liter, V6 aluminum block engine is the most powerful A4 engine, with an output of 220-horsepower.

With the new A4, Audi is introducing a revolutionary transmission technology, offered for the first time in a premium class vehicle. It is a continuously variable transmission known as Multitronic. The benefit of this technology is a transmission that is as quick as a manual transmission vehicle and smoother than an automatic, all with increased efficiency and lower fuel consumption.

From CVT to the independent rear-suspension to the aluminum block engine, I think you'll agree that this car basically bristles with advanced technology.

Also true to Audi's DNA, is the new A4's pure form. It translates discreet sportiness into consistently modern architecture. The new A4 design elements like the clear-glass headlight, dual exhaust, a high waistline and the Audi signature dual grille certainly link this new vehicle to Audi's design language.

In fact, this cars design reminds me of the classic statement, "Fashion fades, only style remains."

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the successful launch of the new A4 in Europe at the end of last year, and the overall positive reaction from journalists to date, I am convinced that this new A4 will achieve best-in-class status in North America. Our customers can expect to see the vehicle in dealer showrooms towards the end of October.

All in all, our German colleagues devoted around five million hours to the development of this new Audi, and drove almost six million kilometers in the process of testing it, in an effort to genuinely achieve pioneering technology by the time of its launch.

We believe that every Audi has to combine advanced technology, performance, design and emotion. What is so special about the new A4 is that it represents a perfect balance of those traits.

These four characteristics are simultaneously at the very core of our brand. And through its perfect balance of these typical Audi characteristics, the new A4 will redefine the epicenter of the brand.

After more than four years of intensive development work, we, meaning everyone at Audi who has contributed towards the new A4, are immensely proud that we are now able to present the sixth generation of the most successful model line in the history of Audi.

Thank you.






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