Audi Expands Its SUV Lineup to Close Gap With BMW image

Audi announced it plans to double its lineup of SUVs by 2020 to narrow the sales gap with BMW, as more and more customers choose this type of vehicles.

Audi is currently working on the Q2, Q4 and Q6, the sportier alternatives for the present lineup consisting of three SUVs.

“Audi is really the first with a grand plan to mirror” its car offerings with corresponding SUVs, said Christoph Stuermer, an analyst with researcher IHS Automotive in Frankfurt. “The SUV package, with its high seating position, is similar to those beautiful, upright cars from the 1920s. This could become the normal car in the premium segment.”

The fact that demand for SUVs continues to increase, is the result of the automakers’ efforts to transform these vehicles into luxury cars. HIS Automotive predicts that by 2018 high-end SUV sales will increase 36%, thanks to the wealthy customers who made it one of the fastest-growing segments. Both Audi, currently the second luxury automaker in the world, and Mercedes, which holds the third place, plan to surpass BMW by the end of this decade.

Audi entered the SUV segment in 2005 with the Q7 model and with the new offerings the automaker will expand its lineup to six models. The Q2 model will be based on the Crosslane Coupe, while the Q6 and the mid-sized Q5 will be manufactured at a new plant in Mexico.