Rupert Stadler, the CEO of Audi, has gone on the record to rule out certain models from the luxury marque’s near-term product plans.
The Audi chief spoke to Automotive News Europe and was quite explicit in ruling in and out certain future models and categories.
Across Audi’s line-up, it has models that compete head-to-head with cars from BMW’s range. For example, the A4 is born to fight the 3 Series, the A5 tussles with the 4 Series, and the A8 takes on the 7 Series. One area where there’s no direct Audi match up is against the 6 Series coupe and convertible.
Although Stadler admitted that the two-door 6 Series models (above) are good for brand prestige, the market segment is small and getting ever more so. “If you are looking to boost your global volume, a large SUV like the forthcoming Q8 is more likely to be a winner than a large coupe,” he concluded.
Stadler once again confirmed the impending release of a model at the other end of the SUV spectrum, the entry-level Q1 crossover. He said Audi was investing a small SUV, rather an MPV or people-mover, like the 2 Series Active Tourer and Gran Tourer, because crossovers have a “higher conquest rate than minivans” and “consumers are more likely to switch to an SUV and are more likely to pay a premium price because SUVs are considered more emotional”.
As for a crossover based on the Audi TT family, the Audi boss said that the company’s off-road TT concepts, like the TT Offroad (above), have been well received, but that no go-ahead has been given for such a project. Even if it was green-lit, it would need to be underpinned by the next-generation MQB component matrix, meaning that it “would not arrive until after 2020”.
The Audi boss’s revelations seemingly contradict what the company’s head of technical development, Ulrich Hackenberg, said in March. Hackenberg told us then that “it’s possible [to develop a TT crossover] in a little over two years”.
Regarding the possibility of an A8 wagon, Stadler told Automotive News Europe that although the Prologue Avant concept (above) had “strong sex appeal” and “generated excellent feedback”, the wagon body style is “popular only in Europe, so we doubt there would be enough demand to justify building such a model”.