Audi today said it will begin sales of the Q8 flagship SUV in 2019 and launch an electric-powered sporty SUV in the upper-mid segment in 2018. The company will also add the entry-level subcompact Q1 crossover next year.
The Q1, the Q8 and SUV with electric drive are intended to provide „a solid foundation” for Audi’s growth path, the company said in a statement.
The new Q8 and electric SUV are aimed at bolstering the automaker’s appeal in markets such as the U.S. and China as it closes the gap to BMW’s namesake brand. Audi is also seeking to keep ahead of fast-growing Mercedes-Benz, the current No. 3, which has the same target to be the top luxury brand.
„We have big plans in 2015 for our global growth path,” CEO Rupert Stadler said at the company’s annual meeting today. „We intend to continue growing this year as well – faster than the world market and in all regions.”
Aside from its German rivals, Audi will face even more competition by the time the new upscale SUV hits showrooms. Bentley will present the Bentayga later this year that it says will be the world’s most luxurious and expensive SUV. The high-end Maserati brand of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is getting ready to introduce the Levante, and Jaguar will start selling its first crossover, the midsize F-Pace, in 2016.