Audi to build Q1 baby SUV

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Motoring -

Audi is set to ex­pand its SUV range to in­clude an en­trylevel Q1 cross­over in a bid to ac­com­mo­date the ever-in­creas­ing con­sumer thirst for SUVS, ac­cord­ing to Bri­tish pub­li­ca­tion Auto Ex­press.

The new Q1 is ex­pected to get the green light for pro­duc­tion by 2020 and will share its un­der­pin­nings with the next-gen­er­a­tion A1 light hatch.

Audi board of man­age­ment mem­ber for sales and mar­ket­ing Bram Schot said mar­ket trends showed a sub-q2 SUV could work for the car-maker.

“You can­not ig­nore the SUV trend, the ques­tion is how wide and how deep do we make the pro­gram with SUVS? De­pend­ing on the busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties, we de­cide on the fu­ture prod­uct port­fo­lio,” he said.

“But don’t be sur­prised if in two or three years you do see the car, as we try to re­act fast to mar­kets.”

Audi Aus­tralia cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Shaun Cleary said Audi’s suc­cess in the SUV mar­ket meant the Q1 would be a wel­come ad­di­tion to the lo­cal line-up.

“Audi has a very suc­cess­ful track record when is comes to our fam­ily of Q mod­els, and so we’d be de­lighted to con­sider any op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther ex­pand our line-up,” he said.

The brand’s com­mit­ment to SUVS is ev­i­denced by the e-tron pro­to­type re­vealed at the Geneva mo­tor show ear­lier in the month, Audi’s first al­l­elec­tric model that will go on sale in Aus­tralia in 2019.

Three out of the brand’s last five new model lines to launch Down Un­der have also been SUVS, with the Q5, Q3 and Q2 all join­ing the lo­cal mar­ket since 2009.

The Q5, Q3 and Q7 are now Audi’s second, third and fourth-most pop­u­lar mod­els in the Ger­man brand’s sta­ble be­hind the A3 small car, record­ing 3364, 2843 and 2664 sales re­spec­tively, in 2017.

Mean­while, the Q2 cross­over, which was re­leased last Fe­bru­ary, found 1999 homes in 2017, enough for sixth po­si­tion be­hind the afore­men­tioned mod­els and the fifth-placed A4 mid­sizer with 2177 sales.

SUV sales cur­rently make up about half of over­all Audi sales vol­ume, not count­ing the A4 and A6 All­road wag­ons.

In 2017, SUVS made up 49 per­cent of Audi sales, while in the first two months of 2018 that num­ber has jumped to 55 per­cent. A range-top­ping Q8 up­per large SUV is also ex­pected to ma­te­ri­alise in com­ing years fol­low­ing a cou­ple of re­lated con­cepts.

If the Q1 makes it into pro­duc­tion, it can be ex­pected to be built on Volk­swa­gen Group’s MQB ar­chi­tec­ture, which un­der­pins the just-re­leased Volk­swa­gen Polo and up­com­ing Troc small SUV.

De­sign cues and tech­nol­ogy are ex­pected to be shared with the next-gen A1, as will pow­er­trains.

The cur­rent A1 uses a mix of petrol en­gines rang­ing from 1.0 to 2.0-litres in size, while the Q2 em­ploys a 1.4-litre petrol unit as well as a 2.0-litre in both diesel and petrol flavours.

Audi’s re­cent trend of in­tro­duc­ing mild-hy­brid pow­er­trains on new mod­els may also carry over to the Q1 if it makes it to pro­duc­tion.

Q FORM­ING: Audi has in­di­cated it might bol­ster its SUV range in the fu­ture with a baby Q1 that would share its un­der­pin­nings with the nextgen­er­a­tion A1 hatch.

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