While Audi had previously confirmed 2023 as the last year of the R8, production of the model has continued into 2024. The automaker will reportedly be keeping the mid-engine coupe around through March to satisfy demand.
“It is true, the last Audi R8 will leave the production line at the end of the first quarter of 2024,” Audi spokesperson Liza Kellner informed Motor1. “This marks the end of the production of an iconic sports car at the Audi Böllinger Höfe site in Neckarsulm. The all-electric Audi e-tron GT will continue to be built at the Böllinger Höfe.”
Audi has opted to transition its entire fleet to all-electric vehicles and is leading with models like the e-tron GT to supplant the R8. As with the R8, the e-tron is based on another model from a fancier nameplate.
Whereas the Audi R8 served as a more-mature and less expensive alternative to the Lamborghini Gallardo and later Huracán, the e-tron GT actually stickers for higher than the Porsche Taycan. This may feel like a counterintuitive play for Volkswagen Group to have made and Porsche’s superior sales numbers may justify that assumption.
However, Audi is indeed making decent headway with battery driven vehicles. When so many other brands were seeing EV sales plateau through the second half of 2023, the German company enjoyed a 26 percent increase in the third quarter (year-over-year) on our market and noted that electric vehicles now make up roughly 13 percent of its total volume. Considering the field, that’s not bad.
Most automakers have vowed to go entirely electric within the next decade. However, these promises had been made before with many brands repeatedly readjusting their electrification goals to avoid embarrassment. It’s likewise skeptical that Audi is on pace to reach its stated targets. But it also probably has a better chance than most, based upon how things have been progressing.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have anything that serves as a true replacement for the R8 and would like to milk everything it can from the model before production formally concludes. Audi is basically doing what Dodge did with the Challenger/Charger. It made sure everyone knew that it would never ever build another vehicle quite like it and then released a series of special edition models in the hopes of drumming up business.
The tactic was sound and has served both companies well in the short term. Dodge saw a bit of a sales bump after it started ringing the scarcity bell and was allowed to sell limited-edition appearance packages for far more than they were actually worth. Audi likewise saw some heat return to the R8 in 2023 with sales doubling over the previous year.
However, it is hard to say what was the result of clever marketing and what was the result of supply chain improvements leading to more normal production levels following the pandemic. It likewise needs to be said that it amounted to just 631 deliveries inside the United States. But we’re talking about a $160,000 performance car, not the Honda Accord.
Either way, demand has been sufficient for the company to continue production on the R8 for a few more months. While it’s unclear whether Audi is simply trying to satisfy existing orders (likely) or willing to take new ones if it thinks it can get them out the door before April has not been made clear. Perhaps if the company gets a rash of phone calls from people desperate to get what is arguably the brand’s most iconic model in decades we’ll hear about production stopping near the end of summer.
Despite the company having thrown a formal retirement party for the R8 last summer, it may be worth not ruling anything out. As of now, there is no direct replacement for the model. The e-tron GT is simply too different and we haven’t heard much on the Audi PB18 e-tron Concept that debuted in 2018. That production version of that car looked like the obvious R8 successor. But Audi’s last word on the PB18 was that the world would see it going into limited production targeting just 50 models. That story came and went without updates in 2019 and it almost feels like the brand forgot that it existed. Odd since it was electrified and that’s supposed to be the move for Audi.
“As part of our strategy, which has the clear objective of electrifying the entire product portfolio, we have decided to withdraw the R8 from the program at the end of the first quarter of 2024,” noted Kellner. “The statement that the R8 will be discontinued at the end of 2023 dates back to 2019. From this point of view, it is not surprising that the actual end date has changed by a few weeks.”
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