Audi South Africa says it’s currently “not an opportune time” to launch the e-tron electric vehicle locally.

Speaking during an online session with local media, Asif Hoosen, who heads up retail, planning and supply chain at Audi SA, said “a combination of factors” had seen the company hold off on launching the e-tron thus far.

“The market is in a very challenging space at the moment so we have to keep a close eye on developments. It’s not an opportune time to be launching future mobility in a market like this,” Hoosen said.

“Of course, infrastructure problems contribute to it as well. We need the government to provide us with incentives to bring these cars to market as well. So, it’s a combination of factors I think will affect the readiness of Audi to launch e-tron in the market,” he added.

Still, Tarryn Knight, head of marketing and product at Audi SA, suggested the Ingolstadt-based firm’s local division was targeting a late-2021 introduction.

“Globally, Audi is very committed to electrification and the e-tron is the most successful electric vehicle in its segment in Europe.

“In terms of the local market, Audi South Africa is committed to an electric vehicle strategy but we want to make sure both our network and our customers are ready and in a position to receive the vehicle.

“We’re looking at introducing the e-tron towards the end of next year [2021] and some other models early in 2022, potentially,” Knight said.

Revealed in September 2018, the e-tron is Audi’s first fully electrically powered series production model. In November 2019, the e-tron Sportback broke cover, with the 370 kW e-tron S following in February 2020.