Speaking at the Detroit motor show, Audi board member for technical development Ulrich Hackenberg began by explaining that a naming rights issue is central to the reason the company is calling its compact model the Q1 in two years’ time, and is now looking into an SUV version of the TT instead of a potential Q4.
“We are working on a small Q, we call it Q1 but the only reason is we don’t own Q2, so from the positioning it will be ‘2’ but from the name will be a ‘1’,” he told.
“We will bring such a car in the next two years.”
Likewise the name Q4 is owned by Alfa Romeo to designate its all-wheel-drive system, ruling out the possibility of a swoopy, coupe-styled Q3.
“The name ‘four’ is not owned by Audi. Q4 is owned by another company, Alfa, so we cannot use it,” Hackenberg continued.
“So we look for another name, and TT is one possibility to give a name to the car.
“The TT is one possibility to give face to such a car. You see at the Beijing show car the TT Q, that’s one possibility which has to focus a car between Q3 and Q5.”
Mercedes-Benz introduced the GLE Coupe at Detroit, which closely mimics the shape of BMW’s hugely successful X6 crossover, but the technical development boss says that while Audi will likely do a sporty SUV, it will not mirror the path of its German rivals.
“We are following that [GLE and X6] with interest, but I think this production of what they are doing is not what we would do, so the proportion of our cars will be different,” he said.
“What they are doing with X5 is that they make the roof so it’s like a coupe – that’s not our way.
“We have other ideas, we are Audi.”
Hackenberg seemed relieved that the naming rights to Q6 and Q8 weren’t taken this time around, however.
“Sporty has to be more expensive, has to be more exclusive, so if you are more exclusive you do not have to go down in nomenclature, so we go up,” he said.
“There is a space between 5 and 7, and maybe 8 a possibility … so we are very interested and intensive for such blanks.
“We could name it Q6 or Q8.”
Based on the hugely flexible MQB compact- and medium-sized platforms, and MLB medium- and full-sized modular architectures, Hackenberg said Audi would need only 2.5 years from project sign-off to on-sale for any car; and we can safely assume that has happened for several sporty SUV models by now since the intent is so clear.
“We want to grow, we don’t want to replace – that’s not the way [to grow],” Hackenberg insisted.
“We are looking for new segments.”