Audi CEO says company needs flagship SUV image

The German company’s chef executive officer Rupert Stadler has acknowledged Audi’s intentions to introduce in the future a flagship grade sport utility vehicle – reaching dealerships before 2020.

According to an interview taken by Bloomberg, Audi is “working heavily on this project,” said Stadler, with the model – tentatively called the Q8 – being directed towards important expansion markets such as the US, China and the Middle East, where such larger coupe-like SUVs are always in high demand. After the VW AG subsidiary, also the world’s second largest luxury automaker, unveiled last week during the 2015 edition of the North American International Auto Show the second-generation of the Q7 model in Detroit, an even larger entry “would strengthen the brand. I’m convinced we need the car by 2020,” commented Stadler. With a compelling SUV range – spanning now from the Q3 to the Q7 entries – and if the planned Q1 and Q8 SUVs also enter production, Audi could threaten its two main rivals – BMW and Mercedes-Benz – which sell almost double the quota of the former in the US – the world’s largest luxury auto market.

On the other hand, Audi could actually be playing catch up by the time the Q8 reaches the dealer showrooms, as BMW already announced last year its own plans to produce a new full-sized SUV, the X7. Additionally, internal challenges also arise – VW Ag’s ultra-luxury marquee, Bentley, has the Bentayga SUV up for an official unveiling later this year, with the British brand aiming to deliver the world’s most luxurious and expensive SUV.

Via Automotive News Europe