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by Tim Beissmann

Volkswagen’s design boss has confirmed Audi will produce a crossover coupe to go head-to-head with the BMW X6.

Volkswagen Group design director Walter de’Silva told Automotive News Europe Audi has given the green light to production of the new SUV, which is expected to be called the Audi Q6.

“We will definitely launch a sportier crossover in between the Q7 and Q5,” de’Silva said, without giving an indication of when the all-new model would go on sale.

The confirmation follows de’Silva’s earlier comments that Volkswagen is planning a small SUV to slot beneath the Tiguan in its global line-up.

The Q6 will mirror the high-riding, sloping-roof styling of the BMW X6, aiming to steal sales from the polarising yet successful Bavarian. After the first nine months of 2011, the X6 was the fifth most popular premium large SUV in Europe. The BMW X5 was ranked number one while Audi’s top seller, the Q7, sat behind the X6 in sixth.

The X6 is taking a little longer to catch on in Australia, however. After 11 months of the year, BMW Australia has sold 303 X6s (down 13.4 per cent from 2010) compared with 2480 X5s. The Audi Q7 accounts for almost five per cent of the luxury SUV market, with 1261 sales so far in 2011.

De’Silva said Audi is considering another SUV to sit between the Q3 and Q5 – likely to be called the Q4 – but is yet to sign off on this model. The compact crossover would compete with the upcoming BMW X4, which was confirmed by the BMW’s CEO in September.




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