Many gearheads and journalists alike have whined and moaned about premium automakers diluting their brands' cachet by developing SUVs and crossovers, but the truth is, that's where the growth is these days. Just look at Porsche and the Cayenne.
Compared to its home-market rivals BMW and Mercedes, Audi was late to the party having launched its first entry in the SUV segment only eight years ago with the full-size Q7, which was followed by the compact Q5 in 2008 and Q3 in 2010.
However, Audi's affair with the segment is far from over as it has plans to double its sport-utility vehicle (SUV) offerings by 2020 and close the sales gap with BMW. A person familiar with the strategy told BusinessWeek that Audi is developing three new models, the Q2, Q4 and Q6, all of which will be sportier looking and handling alternatives to the Q3, Q5 and Q7 respectively.
Mercedes-Benz and BMW are also looking to create a similar crop of more athletic SUVs to enhance their current range.
The same unnamed insider told the news site that the compact Q2 will be loosely based on last year's Crosslane Coupe concept, adding that the larger Q6 could be manufactured at Audi's new assembly plant in Mexico alongside the Q5.
“We see a lot of potential in the SUV segment,” said Audi Sales and Marketing Chief Luca de Meo. “We’re right in the middle of our development,” he added, but would not provide further details about the Audi's model plans.
Story References: Businessweek