New nameplates – Audi introduces a new nomenclature for vehicle identification

Audi is the first manufacturer to abandon the industry standard use of cubic capacity labels to differentiate vehicles.

What has been common practice for decades among many vehicle suppliers, namely that the term 2.0 stands for 2 l cubic capacity, 3.0 for 3 l cubic capacity etc., has been questioned at Audi and is to be changed in the future. In the course of e-mobilisation and the use of electric motors in future generations of vehicles, Audi has created a new labelling logic here. Since electric motors do not have a displacement or a comparable specification that can be used in analogy to combustion engines, Audi has developed a new labelling system for all model series that will be applied from autumn 2017.

In the future, two-digit numbers such as 30, 55 and 70 are to stand for the performance classes at Audi. The numbers increase in steps of five and represent the hierarchy in the entire Audi model range. In future, the pair of digits 30, for example, will denote all vehicles with an output of between 81 and 96 KW, regardless of their drive system. The number 45 stands for the power range from 169 to 145 KW. Currently, the highest combination of digits used is 70, which identifies all vehicles with more than 400 KW.

The extent to which Audi manages to break up or forget the industry-conditioned use of the cubic capacity specifications with this will remain to be seen.

However, there is a suspicion that the end customer will not be able to distinguish between the performance classes due to the very small differentiation. Without a detailed examination of the labelling system, the customer will probably only understand that the nominal power of the engine increases with increasing numbers. A danger of confusion with the “old” industry-conditioned logic is foreseeable here, as vehicles such as the Mercedes E50 (50 stands for 5.0 l capacity) or the Hyundai i40 or i50 (i40 or i50 are model range markings independent of the nominal power of the vehicles) are still on the market.

It remains to be seen to what extent other manufacturers will follow suit or develop their own labelling concepts to integrate the electric motors into the range of drive types.

Thomas Schiefer as managing partner of innomark GmbH comments at irregular intervals on brand topics currently under discussion.

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