In December last year, Audi announced its plan to invest €24 billion in various areas from 2015 through 2019. A lot of discussion has been going around since then about this investment as 70% of it will be absorbed by new models and technologies. While the company has already announced the new entry-level Q1 crossover, the new flagship Q8 crossover, and an electric crossover that is most likely going to be called the Q6, several new models still remain under speculation.
In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler clarified on some speculations about new models. He revealed that the company is bullish about growing its crossover/SUV line-up to expand its models/variants from current 50 to 60 by 2020. The TT offroad concept that was unveiled last year at 2014 Auto China gained a lot of interest but a decision about its production has not been made yet, said the CEO. However, even if it gets the green light, it won’t arrive until after 2020 as it will be underpinned by the next generation MQB architecture.
Following the launch of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, a rival was expected from Audi as well. When asked if the company will launch a rival for the minivan, Mr. Stadler said that even in the compact segments, customers are more likely to switch to an SUV and pay a premium price for the same as SUVs are considered more emotional. He denied possibilities of Audi introducing a minivan saying that the company would rather be emotional than the rational choice.
The CEO concurred that the global acceptance of Sportback models is growing. More Sportback variants can be expected in future as they have good profit margins and models with good profit margins have a better chance of getting production approval, he indicated. The Prologue Avant concept that was unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in March lead to rumours about an Avant variant being considered for the next-gen A8 that is due in 2017. The CEO ruled out any chances of the same happening as wagons are not popular outside Europe and the European demand won’t be enough to justify its development costs.
[Source: Automotive News Europe]