INGOLSTADT, Germany -- SUV sales could account for half of Audi’s total global volume in the future, the automaker’s head of sales and marketing said. A key driver is that the premium brand’s SUV lineup will grow to seven models by 2019 from four now.
SUVs account for a third of Audi’s total global sales now, with 40 percent in China and 47 percent in the U.S., Dietmar Voggenreiter
told journalists at the company’s annual press conference this month.
“I believe the share of SUVs will further grow,” he said. Asked whether it could reach half, he said that was “maybe achievable.”
Next year Audi will launch its Q8 flagship SUV, which will be based on the concept shown at the Detroit auto show in January. Audi showed a new version of that concept with 48-volt mild hybrid technology at the Geneva auto show this month.
Also launching next year will be the e-tron electric SUV, followed by the Q4 compact coupe SUV in 2019. The Q4 will take styling cues from the TT Offroad concept shown at the 2014 Beijing auto show, Audi said.
The Volkswagen Group subsidiary is currently launching the second-generation Q5 midsize SUV and will replace the Q3 compact SUV next year. Last year it launched the Q2 compact SUV.
In 2016 Audi sold 622,000 SUVs, led by the Q5 at 278,968 units.
“The most interesting segment in the automotive industry at present has three letters: SUV. No other type of car has higher growth figures,” the brand said in its 2016 company report released this month. Audi’s SUV share has risen sharply in the last 10 years, from 6 percent in 2006 to 18 percent in 2011 to 33 percent last year.
Audi has been slower to expand its range of SUVs compared with its German rivals. Mercedes-Benz already has seven SUVs, BMW has five and Audi has four. BMW is readying it X7 SUV flagship, which is expected to be launched next year, as well as an X2 compact SUV.
Voggenreiter said Audi launched its first electric car as an SUV because the segment’s increasing popularity was a worldwide trend. He said he didn’t believe the Tesla Model X was a true rival to the car. “It’s not really an SUV, it’s more of a crossover,” he said. “There is no key competitor for us.”