German luxury brand Audi will expand its SUV ranks in 2016 with a new baby model known as the Q1, and the company’s local chief says he’s “thrilled” about that.
“When we do product planning, we do it with a real intelligence, especially with our central planners,” he said.
“We do it for a reason, and we proved that, I think, when we launched the Q7 and subsequently the Q5 and then the Q3. And every single time we lift our volume,” Doyle said. “Q7 never went backwards, Q5 only went forwards, and Q3 has been on top every time.
“So in that respect we’re thrilled about the Q1. We can’t wait for the Q1 to hit the Australian marketplace as well,” he said.
Given that the larger Q3 is already reasonably well priced from just $42,300 (plus on-road costs) in base model guise, the new Q1 will feasibly start in the high $20,000s or low $30,000s, a price tag that was arguably unthinkable just a few years ago for a luxury SUV.
“Each of them certainly has their place, absolutely. If I didn’t have three kids and a wife, the Q1 would be perfect, you know?
“That’s what a brand’s about: offering different product for different people,” he said.
Asked whether there had been any progress on news of a niche TT-based off-road model, Doyle gave little away, other than to suggest that niches in the SUV ranks will be filled, as they are in the passenger car range.
“The key is to offer what the market wants. And being much more nimble to understand what the market demands are,” he said.
“I think we’re proving that with a lot of the product we’re offering.
“Whether it’s a Q-whatever, I think there is opportunity in certain segments – whether they be more niche than others – for a higher, top-level [model] or a Q1 – or whatever it might be,” Doyle said.
The Q1 will make it to production “probably late in 2016”, although it may not arrive in local showrooms until 2017.