erdinand Piech's determination to reinvent Volkswagen AG's mainstream brands shows no sign of slipping. Visitors to the Frankfurt auto show in September will see cars that once again demonstrate the company's ability to turn traditional automotive theory on its head.
The innovative A2 follows the Audi TT in proving that production cars can be faithful to their original concepts. The original Al2 concept was shown in 1997. Audi says the A2 is the world's first mainstream aluminum car, giving a class-leading kerb weight of 895kg. It is built using a versatile space frame technology similar to that used for Fiat's Multipla.
The A2's closest competitor will be the Mercedes-Benz A-class. Both cars share a sandwich-layer floor concept which offers greater space and safety. In a crash the engine and gearbox slide out of harm's way under the floor.
The A2 is the most radical Audi so far under Piech's tenure. It takes the brand into a new compact car market at a time when Skoda, Volkswagen and Seat are all planning to move upmarket towards Audi territory with large new sedans,
Meanwhile Seat unveils a new hatchback called the Leon at Frankfurt. The Leon - which has a 180hp, four-wheel-drive, 20-valve turbo model as its flagship - is further evidence that VW Chairman Piech is serious about turning Seat into a Spanish Alfa Romeo.