Audi and Subaru have been named best Mainstream Brand and best Premium Brand respectively in ALG’s 2018 Canadian Residual Value Awards (RVA), an important benchmark used for forecasting future vehicle…

Audi and Subaru earn top honours in 2018 ALG Canadian Residual Value Awards

2018 Subaru Impreza
The Subaru Impreza achieved best residual value in its “Compact” class. (Photo: Subaru)

Audi and Subaru have been named best Mainstream Brand and best Premium Brand respectively in ALG’s 2018 Canadian Residual Value Awards (RVA), an important benchmark used for forecasting future vehicle values by auto industry professions.

Now in its 10th year, ALG’s RVA projects future values of new models from 26 separate market segments, ranging from “Alt-fuel” to “Fullsize Commercial Van” and everything in between. There are many ways to measure value, although within the car industry the difference between the initial price paid for a new vehicle and its resale value after three or four years is a key parameter. ALG uses the average ownership duration of four years to determine mainstream volume brand values and three years for premium brands, with the results showing both Subaru and Audi are tops in their respective sectors.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek
The Crosstrek earned best resale value in the “Subcompact Utility” category. (Photo: Subaru)

“Depreciation is the single biggest cost of vehicle ownership, and informed consumers understand the importance of resale value when making their purchase decision,” said Eric Lyman, vice president of ALG. “The ALG Residual Value Award is a meaningful achievement in the hyper-competitive automotive landscape. Residual values are a key indicator for the market success of a vehicle, factoring in quality, product execution and brand desirability as primary drivers of ALG’s forecast.”

This is Subaru’s fourth consecutive RVA mainstream brand win, showing an impressive consistency in quality, execution and desirability. This year the brand earned four segment awards, including the Impreza in the “Compact” class, the Crosstrek in the “Subcompact Utility” segment, the Outback in the “Midsize Utility 2nd Row Seating” segment, and the WRX in the “Sportscar” segment.

2018 Subaru Outback
Subaru’s Outback has the highest residual value in the “Midsize Utility 2nd Row Seating” segment. (Photo: Subaru)

Other notable mainstream brands include Toyota that dominated SUV and truck segments with five RVAs including the Tundra achieving its eighth consecutive year topping the “Fullsize Pickup” category, the Tacoma at five RVA “Midsize Pickup” class awards in a row, the Highlander winning the “Midsize Utility 3rd Row Seating” segment, the 4Runner in the “Off-Road Utility” class, and the Sequoia earning top marks in the “Fullsize Utility” category. Honda received three RVA segment awards including the Fit in the “Subcompact” class, Accord in the “Midsize” category, and Odyssey in the “Minivan” segment.

Nissan managed two winners including the Rogue in the “Compact Utility” class and Maxima in the “Fullsize” segment, while the only one-off deserving mention is Kia’s Niro in the “Alt-fuel” category.

2018 Audi A5 Coupe
Audi’s A5 has the best residual value amongst “Premium Midsize” models. (Photo: Audi)

Audi, which has experienced a dramatic upsurge in new vehicle sales in recent years, achieved four category wins including the A5 in the “Premium Midsize” class, A7 in the “Premium Fullsize” segment, Q5 in the “Premium Compact Utility” segment, and Q7 in the “Premium Midsize Utility 3rd Row Seating” category.

“Audi has emerged in recent years as a contender in the luxury space against top European rivals, finding success with new product entries in the utility space and emphasizing innovative technologies that have resonated well with luxury consumers,” stated an ALG press release.

2018 Audi Q5
The new Q5 is rated highest for resale value in the “Premium Compact Utility” segment. (Photo: Audi)

Mercedes also took home four awards, albeit with two in the commercial sector. The winners included the Metris in the “Midsize Commercial” segment and the Sprinter in the “Fullsize Commercial” category, while its CLA Class took home top marks amongst “Premium Compact” models, and the G-Class achieved the highest score in the “Premium Fullsize Utility” segment.

No other premium brand earned multiple RVAs, but notable mentioned include the Maserati Quattroporte in the “Premium Executive” class, the Porsche 718 Boxster in the “Premium Sportscar” segment, and the Land Rover Range Rover Velar in the “Premium Midsize Utility 2nd Row Seating” category.

While sales of some premium brands are more or less flat in Canada, Audi’s Canadian division has been on a charge with growth of 17.9 percent in 2017. Sales increased from 30,544 units in 2016 to 36,007…

Audi Canada achieves 17.9 percent growth for another record year in 2017

2018 Audi Q5
Sales of Audi’s new 2018 Q5 grew by 23.5 percent last year. (Photo: Audi)

While sales of some premium brands are more or less flat in Canada, Audi’s Canadian division has been on a charge with growth of 17.9 percent in 2017.

Sales increased from 30,544 units in 2016 to 36,007 last year, thanks in part to the all-new 2018 Q5 compact SUV that was up 23.5 percent from 8,313 to 10,271 units, once again the most popular in its class by a long shot.

If you think this upswing is all about buyers’ collective preference for SUVs over cars, consider that the redesigned 2018 A5 sports coupe increased its sales by 142.1 percent in 2017, from 1,516 units to 3,671, while the new A4 Sedan and A4 Allroad crossover wagon were up 16.1 percent over the same 12 months, from 6,031 to 7,007 units.

2018 Audi A5 Sportback
Sales of the new 2018 A5 grew by a staggering 142.1 percent in 2017, helped considerably by the entirely new A5 Sportback five-door. (Photo: Audi)

Incidentally, if you add those two D-segment totals together you end up with a sum of 10,678 units, which means the A4/A5 threesome almost matched the mighty Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan and Coupe, which managed just 170 units more for a total of 10,848, while BMW’s combined 3 and 4 Series sales weren’t that much farther ahead with 11,440 deliveries.

2018 Audi S4
Audi’s ever-popular A4 line, which includes the namesake A4, the A4 Allroad and the sportiest S4 (shown), found 16.1 percent more buyers in 2017. (Photo: Audi)

Other than R8 supercar deliveries that spiked by 48.7 percent from 158 to 235 units, most of Audi’s other models grew at a more modest pace, with Q7 sales increasing by 7.6 percent from 4,335 to 4,666 units, A3 deliveries up 5.3 percent from 3,795 to 3,997 units, A6 popularity growing by 4.1 percent from 834 to 868 buyers, and the compact TT sports car finding 3.7 percent more takers from 599 to 621 units, while the only Audi losers were the Q3, which was off by 3.5 percent from 3,860 to 3,724 units, the mid-size A7 Sportback, down by 14.2 percent from 887 to 761, and the full-size A8 flagship sedan dropping 13.9 percent from 216 to 186 units.

2018 Audi Q7
Sales of the new Q7 were so strong in 2016 that last year’s deliveries only grew by 7.6 percent, which is still impressive by most other brands’ standards. (Photo: Audi)

To be fair, Audi sales are only soft for products nearing the ends of their lifecycles, the new 2019 A8 set to arrive this fall, the fully redesigned A7 due to hit our market either later this year or early 2019, and the next-generation Q3 expected sometime in 2019.

Audi’s recent upswing in the Canadian market raises its jurisdictional profile at the brand’s Ingolstadt, Germany headquarters as well, with Canada “establishing itself as a firm fixture among the top ten largest markets,” stated a press release put out by the luxury brand earlier this month. This bodes well for future investment.

2018 Audi R8 V10
Sales of the R8 supercar increased by a stunning 48.7 percent in 2017. (Photo: Audi)

With 1,878,100 vehicles sold globally, Audi saw growth of 0.6 percent through 2017, from 1,867,738 units delivered worldwide the year before. Surprisingly, sales in China were only up 1.1 percent last year, while the Eurozone, which appears to be on the upswing by most economic factors, only grew by 0.4 percent, albeit certain markets were individually strong, with France up by 3.6 percent, Spain by 8.1 percent, and Italy by 10.5 percent.

2019 Audi A8
Sales of the A8 dropped by 13.9 percent last year, but they should pick up when the redesigned 2019 A8 arrives this coming fall. (Photo: Audi)

Last year the U.S. saw an overall vehicle market decline for the first time since 2009, dipping by 2.0 percent to 17.2 million units, but nevertheless Audi’s sales grew by 7.8 percent. This increase was dampened by a 1.8 percent decrease in Mexico and a plunge of 16.5 percent in Brazil, although these two markets, while presenting strong future growth opportunities, are not yet seen as core markets by Audi.

“Despite a very challenging situation we achieved positive growth in all core markets in 2017 and achieved a new record-breaking sales result worldwide,” said Bram Schot, Board Member for Sales and Marketing at AUDI AG. “Every single market contributed to this outcome. This demonstrates the attractiveness of our product portfolio to our customers.”

Audi already incorporates Android Auto and Apple CarPlay within its highly advanced MMI infotainment systems, but at this year’s Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California the German…

Audi teases Android open source in-car infotainment to app developers

2017 Audi Q8 Concept
Audi’s sensational Q8 Concept is the rolling platform for a new Android-based infotainment system. (Photo: Audi)

Audi already incorporates Android Auto and Apple CarPlay within its highly advanced MMI infotainment systems, but at this year’s Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California the German brand offered the Android open source community’s millions of members a new opportunity to share in the development of its next-generation in-car infotainment systems.

An Android HMI solution was already fully integrated within the new Audi Q8 sport concept on display at the Google I/O event, the stylish five-door SUV prototype having first been shown earlier in the year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 9. The question Audi had for show-goers was, how can the collective expertise of the Android open source community speed up development of future in-car apps?

2017 Audi Q8 Concept
The beautiful Q8 cabin includes some pretty impressive Android-based tech. (Photo: Audi)

With seven thousand attendees taking part in the conference, plus millions worldwide involved over the internet, there was no shortage of forward-thinking minds contemplating all the possible applications for Audi’s next-generation Android infotainment system.

The three-day Google I/O event is considered the largest and most important developer conference in the global software industry, so reason enough for Audi’s involvement. Of interest to attendees would be the Q8 sport concept’s technology platform, already infused with new Android-based apps like the Spotify streaming service, Google Play Music, and Google Assistant, which were all running on the vehicle’s sizeable MMI touchscreen display atop the centre dash.

2017 Audi Q8 Concept
This updated version of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit works even more seamlessly with the centre stack-mounted infotainment display than the current one. (Photo: Audi)

Of note, most infotainment system functions are also visible within Audi’s innovative Virtual Cockpit, a fully configurable colour TFT primary gauge cluster positioned in the driver’s direct field of view.

Marking the first time such services have been fully integrated within Audi’s brand-specific infotainment system, its conventional in-house navigation route-guidance and mapping system now combines with Google Maps, allowing those more familiar with the internet-based system to use it instead. The new Q8 concept’s infotainment setup also includes a message centre for incoming SMS messages, emails and calls.

2017 Audi Q8 Concept
Check out the longer video below for some examples of what this stunning system can do. (Photo: Audi)

According to Audi, the seamless integration of Android offers great potential. Android is now the most popular mobile platform globally, with more than 1.4 billion active users. Servicing that platform is an open Android community that’s deep in expertise and creativity, and therefore capable of quickening new application development. Due to on-board Wi-Fi, such new applications could immediately be integrated within any new vehicles’ infotainment system. Additionally, update cycles could be made considerably shorter, plus the diversity of services much wider, and international availability more prevalent.

2017 Audi Q8 Concept
The Q8 Concept’s rear seats look ultra-comfortable, but as importantly rear passengers are digitally connected by a centre touchscreen display. (Photo: Audi)

Aligning with the makers of the most popular smartphone and tablet operating systems only makes sense, being that in-car infotainment is becoming increasingly important in the sale of new cars, some younger buyers choosing their cars partially because of the electronics within. Familiarity to a car’s infotainment interface while on the test drive, including the ability to use it in the same ways as their smartphone or tablet, could make or break the sale of a new vehicle, as well as owner satisfaction once that sale is completed and the customer is in the “getting to know you” stage.

2017 Audi Q8 Concept
This rear display allows rear passengers their own infotainment functions. (Photo: Audi)

Turning to Android’s open source philosophy for future infotainment development is in sharp contrast to Audi rival Lexus and its parent company Toyota, which have eschewed both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in place of their own proprietary systems dubbed Enform and Entune respectively. The latter two systems could very well succeed, but electronics history is littered with proprietary failures like Sony’s Memory Stick that was thwarted by SD cards, the same Japanese brand’s Beta videotapes replaced by VHS, and the list goes on.

Refreshingly, Audi sees a different type of fully connected mobility, where people can “pursue any activity they want in the car of the future.” Audi hopes that its “integrated Android system will enable them to use the entire world of smartphone apps in the car,” which certainly makes a lot of sense to us.

To learn more, check out two videos that show the new Audi Q8 Concept along with some impressive detail of its ultra-advanced Android-based infotainment system. The short version runs for just 50 seconds, whereas the second video runs for 8:30, with the in-depth infotainment demo beginning at 6:35:

 

 

Canadian consumers have made the Audi Q5 the bestselling compact luxury SUV for years, and thanks to the 2018 redesign it’s doing better than ever. Find out all the details by checking out our review…

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