Audi CEO Confirms Q8 SUV, Will Launch By 2020
A new Audi Q7 was long overdue, having been on the market since late 2005. Ingolstadt obliged and premiered the all-new, second-generation model at the recent Detroit Auto Show.
Its main feature is that it has shed more than 700 pounds (325 kg) compared to its predecessor thanks to a new chassis and the extensive use of light materials throughout.
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, however, went on the record saying that the German manufacturer is “working heavily” on an even bigger SUV, dubbed Q8, that will be aimed mainly at markets where such vehicles are in high demand, like the US, China and the Middle East.
Stadler told Bloomberg during an interview that a bigger SUV, which will sit at the top of the range above the Q7, “would strengthen the brand. I’m convinced we need the car by 2020.”
The US is of special interest to Audi, as it trails market leader BMW and second-place Mercedes- Benz by selling half as much models as they do. In the near future, Stadler forecast that high-end vehicles will increase their market share, from today’s 10 percent to 13 percent.
He also sees no reason why, by strengthening the brand’s portfolio, they can’t outsell their rivals: “We did it in China, we did it in Europe. Why shouldn’t it happen in the US at some point?”
Nevertheless, Audi’s range-topping SUV will have to face strong competition in the luxury SUV niche. Bentley, which like Audi belongs to the VW Group, will launch the Bentayga, Jaguar the F-Pace, Maserati the Levante and BMW the X7, all of which are expected to beat the Q8 to the showrooms.