A1 probably won't survive another generation.
The business case for any small hatchback, from a luxury car brand, is becoming very difficult to justify.
Enormous pressure is being applied on cities to embrace electric vehicles, which has seen a huge offering of large battery-powered cars. These SUVs, crossovers and sedans, can operate in congestion or emissions taxed CBDs, with much lower cost, than a small petrol- or diesel-powered hatchback.
This is exactly the issue that Audi is trying to deal with. Although Ingolstadt has committed to electrification, with its very impressive new e-tron GT proving the point, there are limits to the viability for all models.
The problem is that small car platforms, simply cannot absorb the R&D and production costs, to electrify. They would become prohibitively expensive, as a result.
With the large margins and much higher prices of large SUVs and crossovers, brands have been able to make customers absorb more of the production cost, relating to electric vehicles. This is clearly evident in the list pricing of vehicles such as Porsche’s Taycan.
The A1 is simply an impossible prospect for Audi, in terms of electrification. VW retains some viability with its platform twin, the Polo, due to the sheer volumes it can assemble and sell. A next-generation Polo is assured, but this current version of A1, will in all likelihood be the last.
Will Audi surrender its market share in the compact vehicle segment? Unlikely. What the German brand is expected to do is revive one of its most celebrated model names: A2.
For followers of all things Audi, the A2 is keenly remembered as a wonderfully advanced compact city car of the early 2000s.
Audi can easily revive the A2 name, which has a legacy for technical innovation and advanced design, as a new battery-powered model range. It would then effectively replace the A1, and deliver a slightly larger vehicle, as Audi’s entry-level product offering.