Audi going XWD (sorta)

Here’s another reason why Saab need to increase the size of their model lineup – it gives you more excuses reasons to send out press releases and keep your brand in the news.

For example, Out of the 19 stories on my Autoblog RSS feed this morning, three of them were about Audi. That’s not totally unusual either. The little German is fond of whipping up release after release. You’d think they must have at least 20 or 30 cars in the pipeline.

I generally don’t pay too much attention to these Audi articles as I truthfully find Audis about as boring as bat****, but there was one that caught my eye today. It looks like XWD may have it’s first clone.

The system, which sends 60-percent of torque to the rear wheels, will sense a loss of traction in less than 100 milliseconds and then send an appropriate amount of power to each individual wheel.

XWD competitors were always going to come and it’s no surprise that it’s a German marque that lands the first blow. And all this prior to Saab’s XWD actually being released.

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14 Comments

  1. You’ve got me started on again via this topic !!! Once again, if Saab as it’s been seen in the last decade continues to miss time and fail to release key new products to market, Audi and Volvo will inevitably bee seen as market leaders and Saab as back water supplier. This really makes me fume as their marketing and strategic planning is almost there to help their competitors. As we discussed over and over, Audi, Volvo & BMW are not bringing significantly better vehicles to market however their options are simply abundant compared to a scarce 2 vehicle line up that Saab offers. The delay of releasing the XWD range is going to cost Saab yet again dearly as they will be the “Johnny comes late” follower not the leader. I’ll better head off for a strenuous bike ride on this APEC bonus free holiday otherwise my frustrations will start to affect others here.

  2. This is annoying, but on the bright side it sounds as if XWD is better. Can’t 90 – 100% of the torque be thrown to the rear wheels?

    Saab needs EpII NOW.

  3. Simply, the opportunity lost and the cost of this !!! Market perception is brutal at times and if you miss out on taking leadership you’ll never be recover. No matter how much better your product is, you fall in to obscurity. This are factual realities of business and market responses.

  4. Swade, while Saab owns the XWD trademark, the actual system is made by Haldex, and it will be supplied to other manufacturers – Audi among them, who will market it under the Quattro badge. This piece of info comes straight from my dealer.

    As for Audi getting as much press coverage as they could – absolutely, and well done, too! Saab marketing dept. should be taking notes of how Audi got 4 features on Auto Blog alone today!

  5. Kroum, you’re absolutely right and sorry if my post intimated that that wasn’t the case. I just found it interesting that this was the first XWD-similarity I’d seen on my feeds.

    In terms of regular coverage, It’s all about momentum I think. If AB aren’t doing a story about Audi/BMW then they’re doing a story about some aftermarket tuner working on one. It’s a little sickening and fascinating all at the same time.

  6. Swade, you’re absolutelt right – I get annoyed myself when I have to scroll through a gazillion Audi/BMW/MB-related articles of little or no significance. Neck-to-neck artcles today: “New S5 Released [Pricing Inside]” and “New A5 Released [Pricing Inside]” – what the hell, is that not one and the same car!?!?

    However, as much as I don’t like Germ and Japo “performance cars” I must say they’re doing one heck of a fine job marketing and selling themselves to the journos – sad to say, but if I were Saab’s CEO I’ll be firing lots of people in Marketing and PR. Where are my separate “Saab Unleashes new 9-3 2.0T” and “Saab Unleashes new 9-3 Aero” artciles, for Sven’s sake!?

  7. Well folks it all ads up doesn’t it when it comes down to selling/promoting. Whoever blows its own trumpet harder with the press wins !!! Aside from the lack of variety of models the approach to market from Saab as a whole is pathetic and one that continues to allow Audi in particular to take center stage with some clearly inferior products/technology. I hope Kroum’s point is taken as the lack of good press invariably leads to bad press as this is another one of Saabs biggest Achilles tendons.

  8. Isn’t this much ado about nothing? As someone mentioned in comments above, the SAAB/Haldex XWD system can transfer 100% of torque to the rear wheels, so SAAB’s system is still superior to this upcoming AUDI system.

    In case you’re wondering why the ability to transfer 100% to the rear wheels is significant, it means that torque steer is completely eliminated in FWD (SAAB) applications.

    Unfortunately from a PR standpoint SAAB can’t really advertise this benefit because even after the XWD starts selling the vast majority of SAAB sales will be FWD cars, which would still theoretically suffer from torque steer (though it’s been mostly engineered-out).

    SAAB will remain “king of the hill” for maybe two, three years before the same Haldex system starts showing up in competitors’ cars. I say they market the heck out of it. Find some venue to pit the XWD against Quattro against SH-AWD (Honda/Acura) against Subaru’s AWD against ovloV’s AWD against VW’s 4Motion (isn’t that just the same thing as Quattro?) and demonstrate in a real world scenario (not a computer animation) how XWD is the best.

  9. Exactly Gripen! It is the only possibility to get some intention on a real proving ground! This would be something journalists can not ingnore – but on the other side. Germany seems to protect the own market – I saw a test of different smaller Convertibles/Roadsters some 2 or 3 weeks ago on DSF MOTOR – known as Motorvision [MX-5 / New Beetle etc.] and when finished they mentioned the crash tests in Detroit back in June and said that the Volvo C70 was the ONLY car getting the highest rating. Not a single word about the 9³!! They did mention, though, that Audi and BMW failed to get top ratings [in Fact they were real bad]. I wrote an email and tried to talk them into correcting this mistake, but nothing ever happenend – instead I had to see all the AMG Mercedes tested over and over. And if you look at a german car magazine [any of them] you will find stories about BMW/MB/Audi/VW in increasing numbers. There are about 30-40 cars coming until 2010 – every single niche , every crossing possible will be made by german manufactures! The Star of the IAA will be Audi with the all new A4 – thats clear right from the beginning – I can hear it even now [superb craftmanship/ state of the art interior / best petrol direct injection on the market]… that’s the way it is… I wrote yesterday that the new 9³ is already up to a difficult task, when I have to make discounts of nearly 12.000,- to push some 🙁 I will be on the IAA and have a look at the reception of the Turbo X unveiling, when only a few hours later the competitors will show theirs… trying to figure out how it compares…

  10. The Audi news should not be any surprise, they have been using Haldex in all their transverse engine layout models for some time (Audi TT, A3) and it looks like they are simply upgrading to the latest gen of Haldex hardware. Chances are these updates will trickle down to the VW models offering haldex as well, such as the R32.
    The other models in the Audi group use a torsen system.

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