Customers Line Up and Wait for New Audi A3 Turbodiesel

The '10 Audi A3 turbodiesel goes on sale in late November, but it will take six months for new buyers to take delivery. That's because Audi dealers have a half-year of advance orders to fill before handling new customers, says Carter Balkcom, the model's product manager. Starting at $29,950 (and a $825 destination charge), a typically equipped A3 TDI will sell for $31,500, he predicts. He expects

The '10 Audi A3 turbodiesel goes on sale in late November, but it will take six months for new buyers to take delivery.

That's because Audi dealers have a half-year of advance orders to fill before handling new customers, says Carter Balkcom, the model's product manager.

Starting at $29,950 (and a $825 destination charge), a typically equipped A3 TDI will sell for $31,500, he predicts.

He expects metro San Francisco, the Pacific Northwest and New England to be leading markets for the new Audi because those are the best-selling areas for the conventional gasoline-powered A3.

Balkcom forecasts the A3 TDI will appeal to households with $75,000 annual income.

His market research reveals an intellectual class of customers will find the diesel appealing.

The A3 TDI will be the second diesel Audi launches this year, following the Q7 cross/utility vehicle.

The German-built A3 TDI's 2.0L engine generates 140 hp and 236 lb.-ft. (320 Nm) of torque. Fuel economy is expected to be 30/42 mpg (5.6-7.8 L/100 km) in city/highway driving.

The powertrain is shared with the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, a 2009 Ward's 10 Best Engines winner. But the upscale Audi costs $5,000 more.

Balkcom predicts turbodiesels will account for about 10% of Audi sales volume this year. He says Audi is studying the introduction of additional diesel models in the U.S.

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