After a five-month delay because of overwhelming demand for the coupe version, Audi has finally put the equally-coveted TT Roadster into production.
Initial orders show the two-seat convertible is as hot as the TT Coupe introduced last fall. Dealers in Germany say they are getting daily orders of 300 TT Roadsters. Dealers in other countries haven't even opened their ordering books yet.
Such strong demand for the TT has forced Audi to introduct strict ordering rules for its employees, who get an 18 percent discount. Over 4,000 employees have ordered TT Roadsters but Audi has limited in-house sales to 300 vehicles a year. Who gets a car - and when - is determined by a lottery system.
Audi won't make more than 10,000 roadsters this year, said Manfred Sevenig, product marketing manager. About 4,000 units are reserved for Germany alone, where the waiting list is up to 12 months. Audi attributes the high demand to its decision not to introduce additional versions of the roadster in the foreseeable future. 'There is such a run on the cars that there is no need to complicate our products with even more proliferation,' said Sevenig. 'Later we can keep the car attractive by offering further options. We are discussing a Tiptronic automatic gearbox and a six-cylinder engine. But nothing is decided yet.'
Audi believes both TT models will stay attractive far longer than competing models, reducing the need for costly facelifts, updating or even sales incentives. 'Both cars are already on the way to attaining the status of a modern classic,' said Sevenig.
The roadster was delayed to cut the waiting time of the coupe, launched last October, to six months for most versions. But the 225hp quattro version, whose launch was also delayed by several months until May, is still in short supply with a waiting list of at least nine months.
By adding a third shift at its factory in Hungary, Audi has boosted TT production to 50,000 units a year from the originally forecast level of 30,000 cars.
Audi predicts the roadster will account for one-third of TT annual production. The roadster is nearly identical to the coupe but weighs 70kg more because of a heavier and stronger chassis strcuture.