While Mercedes-Benz and BMW have fresh and relatively fresh offerings in the mid-size segment (C-Class, 3-Series) and the full-size SUV class (ML-Class, X5), Audi is delaying the launch of the next-generation A4 and Q7 because R&D boss Ulrich Hackenberg is unhappy with their design.
The current generation Audi A4 has been on the market since the end of 2007 and was scheduled for replacement later this year. However, the car won’t arrive earlier than summer next year, as Hackenberg, who replaced Wolfgang Dürheimer on July 1, 2013, wanted to apply some design changes.
In addition, the R&D boss urged engineers to develop a plug-in hybrid model as soon as possible and requested changes on the car’s chassis and driver assistance systems.
As for the Audi Q7, fans of Ingolstadt’s behemoth SUV will also have to wait for a redesigned model because Hackenberg was displeased with the looks of SUV’s front end. Since the new Q7 will be around 300 kg lighter (661 lbs), Hackenberg wants it to look lighter as well, with designers now working to remove some of the bulkness of the original design. Expect the Q7 launch somewhere in the first quarter of 2015.
Both delays are expected to cost Audi and the VW Group tens of millions of euros.
By Dan Mihalascu