While Porsche Cars North America announced a banner year in 2022, selling 70,065 vehicles in the U.S. and breaking the previous record set in 2021, Audi had a more lackluster performance. Audi sales in the U.S. fell by 4,7 percent in 2022 to reach 186,875 vehicles, down from 196,038 units in 2021. Yet not just the performance on the American market falls short of expectations. As such, Audi’s global sales fell by 3.9 percent in 2022, to 1,614,231 units, down from 1,680,512 units in 2021. Naturally, consumers still remember past emission scandals and recalls, but a tarnished brand image is not the only thing that is holding the Audi brand back.
More recently, the media announced that the German automaker is facing class action because of defective water pumps. “Numerous models from 2013 to 2022, including the S4, Q5, S5, SQ5, A6, A7, Q7, and A8, are affected. The company has issued a recall for affected vehicles because they have installed defective water pumps on some Audi models,” says The Lemon Firm.
All of these incidents have damaged Audi’s reputation and the brand’s reliability rating. “From the early 1980s to the late 1990s, Audi was among the most reliable German car brands,” says Carvertical. “However, those days are gone. Because of the complexity of its engines, transmission, and other components, Audi isn’t among the most reliable vehicle manufacturers anymore – the dependability of its cars is average at best.”
If all the recalls and scandals didn’t scare you off, and you still want to own an Audi, keep on reading to find out about the 10 things Audi owners keep quiet about.
10 Audi Has Average Reliability
According to RepairPal, Audi has a reliability score of 3.0 out of 5.0, which ranks it 28th out of 32 for all automakers analyzed. Moreover, the average annual repair cost for an Audi comes up to $987. In 2022, when Consumer Reports released again its newest manufacturer reliability ratings, Audi received an average predicted reliability score of 60 out of 100.
9 Audi Comes With High Ownership Cost
Consumer Reports once called Audi, “a sinkhole of service problems.” Despite coming a long way in the past years, the automaker still isn’t the brand from the 1980s and 1990s, which symbolized German engineering, durability, and high build quality. Modern consumers should expect to pay big bucks for yearly maintenance and repairs for their Audi cars. For instance, the Audi RS5 has an average annual repair cost of $2,560, but this is a model that had several recalls. There are other models with lower annual repair costs, like the Audi A5 Quattro, which will cost owners annually an average of $887, or the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, with an annual average cost of $890. But overall, Audi vehicles are not cheap to maintain and repair.
8 Several Audi Models Have Ignition Component Failure
“We see ignition coil failure more than any other issue with Audis. If your engine is misfiring, it could be the ignition coil or the spark plugs,” says Pit Shop Auto Repair.
7 Audi’s Nazi Past
A historical inquiry commissioned by Audi itself revealed that while the corporation operated under the name Auto Union, it entered into a deal with the SS to hire more than 3,700 prisoners from Nazi concentration camps.
“Another 16,500 laborers — not interned in concentration camps — also were made to work for the car company in the Saxon cities of Zwickau and Chemnitz, in addition to 18,000 at a plant in Bavaria where more than 4,000 died,” says The Times of Israel while pointing towards the report.
The report also emphasized that executions of disabled laborers took place in concentration camps.
6 Audi Owners Have Reported Excessive Oil Usage And Oil Leakage
According to Audi Complaints, the worst issues that were reported by owners include excessive oil consumption. Furthermore, on CarComplaints, excessive oil usage comes as the most reported Audi problem, followed by excessive oil consumption. Meanwhile, on RepairPal, 82 people have reported engine oil leaks on the Audi A4, 41 people reported the same issue for the Audi A6 Quattro, and 7 owners for the Audi S4.
5 Engine Problems Are Common
Last year, Audi recalled thousands of 2021-2023 Audi Q5 and Q5 Sportback SUVs because of engine failure risk.
“Due to a manufacturing defect, the engine connecting rod bearings may become damaged. This could lead to stalling, engine failure, and fire,” says Consumer Reports.
Elsewhere, on Audi Complaints, the engine is ranked as the component that breaks the most, with roughly 40 percent of all Audi owner complaints being related to engines.
4 Issues with Electrical Components
Another problem that is often reported by owners relates to electrical components. These issues make up roughly 7 percent of all Audi owner complaints according to Audi Complaints. The models that have the most reported electrical problems are Audi A4, Audi Q7, and Audi A6.
3 Audi Is Famous For Marketing Faux Pas
One of the most famous global marketing faux pas involves Audi and one of their most controversial ads released in China. Inc. even said “Audi insults women everywhere with its disastrous new commercial,” while social media users erupted with anger when they saw that the ad portrayed a mother-in-law inspecting the bride on her wedding day just like she would be a used car. Nobody found it funny that the Audi advertisement linked getting a used car to getting married.
2 Audi Could Improve Customer Experience
Back in 2021, several sources confirmed Audi was looking to improve customer experience in the U.S. Furthermore, Daniel Weissland, president of Audi of America, made it clear that the launch of the e-tron GT has provided Audi the chance to strengthen its relationship with its customers.
“What we can influence — and it’s definitely one of our focus points — we want to obviously increase our customer experience,” Weissland told Auto News. “We have the best and most electrified product portfolio in 2021 that we’ve ever had, with the e-tron GT coming, and later the year, the Q4 E-tron and the Q4 E-tron Sportback. We now have a full-fledged electric portfolio.”
Without a doubt, this is a step in the right direction, but Audi shouldn’t have waited until 2021 to pursue this strategy, given that rivals were already ahead in strategies that encouraged repeat business and build brand loyalty.
1 Audi Falls Behind Other German Automakers In Terms Of Dependability
In Consumer Report’s manufacturer reliability ratings, BMW rounded up the top three, while Audi came sixth. Meanwhile, in J.D. Power’s 2023 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, BMW (184 PP100), Porsche (208 PP100), Volkswagen (216 PP100), and Mercedes-Benz (240 PP100) ranked higher in vehicle dependability than Audi (252 PP100). Furthermore, BMW AG won several segment awards for the BMW 4 Series, BMW X2, BMW X5, and Mini Cooper, whereas Audi received the third-lowest score in the study, being followed only by Lincoln and Land Rover.
Sources: J.D.Power, Consumer Reports, CNN, Audi Complaints, Inc., Porsche, Best Selling Cars, Europe Autonews, The Lemon Firm, RepairPal, Carvertical, Dealer Rater, The Times of Israel, Steve’s Automotive Specialists, Pit Shop Auto Repair, and Top Class Actions.