Audi A3 TDI - 1
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Audi has just racked up 2,000,000 sales in the United States. The car that clicked it over from 1,999,999 was an A3 TDI sold to a customer in southern California, this past June. No word if there were flashing lights, a siren and a load of balloons coming down from the ceiling when the final paperwork was signed, but that doesn't really seem to be Audi's way of going about things.

The interesting point is that this purchase underlines a trend of buying smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, but still going for that element of luxury and cool design. Another neat fact is that this was a first-time Audi buyer.

The A3 TDI starts at $29,950, before any options are chosen, and fuel consumption is rated at 30 mpg in the city, 42 mpg on the highway. It was voted Green Car of the Year for 2010 because of its clean diesel engine, and is currently eligible for a federal credit of $650 (until December 31, 2010). But this isn't some form of four-wheeled punishment. The A3 is a fine car with a great interior and a fun driving experience, with either a gasoline or a diesel engine.

Audi is rightly pleased about making the big two and six zeroes, especially since this event came during a record six months for the company. "The story of Audi in the U.S. is really a story written by the hundreds of thousands of people who have invited our brand into their lives," said Johan de Nysschen, Audi of America's president. "We're grateful for those opportunities."

It's taken 40 years for Audi to reach this landmark, starting with the Super 90 and 100, going through its own dark night of unintended acceleration complaints and coming out the other end as one of the top premium brands in the country. The company thinks it will take far less time to hit 3,000,000.

There's even a chance to share ideas on how Audi cars will look once that figure is reached. Go to facebook.com/audi, click on "Driver's Spotlight" and submissions are being encouraged. Hint: go for something light, highly aerodynamic and electric.

author photo

Colin Ryan has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

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