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Audi To Double SUV/Crossover Offerings By 2019

Audi is making a huge commitment to the crossover/SUV market. With sales last year hitting more than 600,000, the automaker plans to add four models to its already formidable array of crossovers and SUVs including its flagship model.

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Audi plans to radically expand the number of SUVs and crossovers in its lineup in the next two years. By 2019, the VW subsidiary will have seven models among its offerings, a number that nearly doubles what’s available now. Today, Audi offers four that account for at least one-third of its total sales.

China, U.S. Biggest Markets

China and the United States are Audi’s two biggest markets. About 40 percent of its crossover and SUV sales are in China while the United States absorbs 47 percent.

The information comes from Dietmar Voggenretier, an Audi executive, who said “I believe the share of SUVs will … grow.” He spoke with journalists at the automaker’s recent financial results press conference, where he also said that SUVs and crossovers could hit 50 percent of the automaker's sales.

As part of its light-truck push – SUVs and crossovers are light trucks in the eyes of federal regulators – Audi plans to launch its new top-of-the-line SUV, the Q8. The Q8, based on a concept, was first displayed at January’s Detroit Auto Show. The automaker also plans to add a new 48-volt hybrid, also based on the same platform. The automaker used the Geneva auto show to debut the hybrid concept.

Another new crossover slated for 2019 is the e-tron electric. The electric will be followed by the 4. Called a “compact coupe crossover,” its styling is close to the TT Offroad concept that debuted at the 2014 Beijing auto show. Interestingly, the Q4 will have four doors, rather than the traditional two that have been featured on coupes since they first appeared decades ago. It seems that marketing types have determined that if a vehicle has lines that even vaguely resemble those of a two-door, then it is fair to call it a coupe. Honestly, this does stretch the coupe concept.

2nd Generation Q5, Others

Rounding out the SUV and crossover offerings is the second-generation Q5, a midsize crossover. Just launched, Audi is taking a chance with the new Q5 as the former model was its best-seller. Also, Audi plans to replace the Q3 compact crossover next year. The Q2 joined Audi’s lineup last year.

Audi is very optimistic about the SUV/crossover segment into which it is pouring resources. “The most interesting segment in the automotive industry at present has three letters: SUV. No other type of car has higher growth figures,” according to the automaker’s 2016 company report, just released. Audi sold 622,000 crossovers and SUVs in 2016, led by the popular Q5 at 278,968 units.

Source: Automotive News

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