The Audi Q1 will be the next SUV to join the luxury German car maker's line-up, the company's boss announced overnight.
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Audi AG chairman of the board of management Rupert Stadler finally confirmed production of the subcompact Q1 SUV will begin in 2016 at the manufacturer’s plant in Ingolstadt, Germany. The model has been long anticipated.

The Audi Q1 will be based on the Volkswagen Group's versatile MQB architecture, which it will share with the new Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf, and dozens of other models over its lifetime - but is likely to be most closely related to the next-generation Polo due expected to launch in 2015, and twin A1.

Stadler described the Q1 as a “part of our broad-based SUV strategy” and confirmed the new model would be Audi’s smallest and most inexpensive crossover, designed to “round off our Q series at the bottom end”.

The Audi Q1 will become the fourth SUV in the range, sitting below the compact Q3 which starts from $49,450, mid-sized Q5 and large Q7. There are currently no direct rivals from its luxury car rivals, with the closest consideration BMW’s upcoming model previewed by the Active Tourer Outdoor concept.

The design sketch reveals a muscular, sharply contoured five-door body lined with rugged-looking hardwearing guards, though the production model is expected to feature more car-like urban-inspired styling similar to that of the Q3 and sharing cues with the next-generation A1 hatchback.

Audi says the Q1 will be one of 11 new vehicles it adds to its range by 2020 as it expands its portfolio from 49 models to 60 and looks to increase annual sales to two million units.

Audi expects SUVs to account for 35 per cent of the company’s total production by 2020, up from today’s 28 per cent, with the Q1 to make up the majority of the growth.