Why the Audi A1/Q2 embody everything enthusiast hate about the car industry.

If any of you live outside the United States of “We hate odd shapes” you might have seen this weird ass car, its very common here in Mexico, you can get one for around 325,000 pesos, or 17,000 American dollars, take note that we have much higher car taxes than the US.

Here’s one registered in Puebla, the picture belongs to autocosmos.com as the watermark suggests.

The Audi A1 is a badge job, not even a good one at it! Its based on the VWAG A05 (PQ25) platform, compared to the other cars, we can see a clear trend:

Audi A1= Expensive Polo

Polo=Expensive & slower Ibiza

Ibiza= Expensive & sportier Fabia.

Fabia=One of the cheapest VW products you could buy.

Note that these cars are different looking, but share the same guts, and I hate that because its a thing of image mostly, specially between the A1 and the Polo because no one buys the expensive A1, the 1.8T with 180hp. but the cheaper 1.4 with 125. The thing is, you could get the Polo GTi with the 1.8 for about the same money than the A1.

The Polo GTI, this image also belongs to Autocosmos.com, despite no watermark

Its a mechanically better car, and I think prettier. To the point that you really need to ask yourself if you bought the Audi because somehow VWAG packed a metric ton of luxury into it, or is it because you fell for the badge?

It is frankly ridiculous how many people buy the A1 and the Ibiza here in Mexico. The polo, which is meant to be the mid market-reasonable one has no appeal whatsoever apparently, because I don’t get to see many. VW also has no shame pulling out the GTi in and out of the Mexican market, maybe it´s some sort of marketing stategy, I dunno, Mexican cosumers are very wierd.

In the end it´s not like VW created badge jobs (looking at you Chrysler) but they certainly perfected them! In a few months you will be able to buy a Touareg that in theory could fit Bentley engines, and it´s not like you couldn´t do that before with the Pheaton for instance.

But this is part of a bigger problem: marketing has taken over car design, and it is winning. I can trace this back to a very Mexican term, the term “mamar” which under this instance means to pretend and showoff wealth trying improve one´s standing in society in the process. Oh, yes, you could´ve boughten a safer, larger, better, quicker, car. But no, you needed the Audi A1 because any badge with less than four rings doesn´t get accepted into your friend´s daddy´s golf course. It is what marketing does, it wants to make some brands come off as the mame, it makes careless consumers jump into a 320,000 peso bandwagon that is could be had for less than 200,000 with a different badge. The true tryanny of marketing is what it made these people feel, they made them feel that the righ badge is the expensive one. The marketing people made the consumers feel like they (and let me quote Geto Boys here) had caine, but it was Gold Medal flour.

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