Audi's engineers want to save TT, R8

Although engineering and sales are keen on the two-door models, tighter budgets, slow sales and emissions considerations make the path forward difficult.
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Despite internal enthusiasm for the Audi TT and Audi R8, the company's technical director admits their futures have yet to be decided.

"We engineers want them and our sales colleagues want [the TT and R8], but it is a question of whether we can afford them," Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, Audi's head of technical development, told Automotive News Europe last week.

According to Rothenpieler, his engineering team believe the TT and R8 are a core part of the brand's DNA.

Rothenpieler stated no decision has yet been reached on successors to the current TT and R8 range, but admitted the business case would be hard to make without resorting to electrification as the Volkswagen Group now requires CO2 emissions to be taken into account with every product plan.

Bram Schot, Audi's CEO, also hinted the company's future sports cars will need some sort of electrification, saying the RS range's "red diamond needs to become greener".

Audi, like the Volkswagen Group's other mainstream brands, is spending heavily to develop new electric vehicles.

The company will begin production of its E-Tron electric crossover later this year. The Porsche Taycan-based E-Tron GT will follow in 2020, with the Q4 E-Tron scheduled for a late 2020 or early 2021 launch.

Figures from Automotive News Europe show the TT managed just 14,641 sales globally in 2018, while the 2,760 editions of the R8 were sold last year.