Audi CEO Rupert Stadler confirmed to Automotive News the automaker is “working heavily” on a range-topping SUV for its Q lineup. The new flagship crossover, expected to be called ‘Q8’ would “ strengthen the brand,” Stadler said, adding it is a product the Four Rings needs by 2020.
The Q8 would be developed all major automotive markets in mind, but with particular emphasis on the Middle East, the United States and China, all popular SUV markets. BMW has a similiar product in the pipline to be called X7, so bringing the Q8 to market ASAP will be important. Other premiuim SUVs are about to saturate the market even further, such fellow Volkswagen Group brand Bentley’s Bentayga, the production version of the Jaguar F-Pace and the Maserati Levante.
Despite the increased competition, Audi is confident its new SUVs will help it gain more traction in the United States, where it sells about half the cars its two German rivals do. The automaker’s SUVs have played a large part in its growth, so its plans to expland the Q lineup are unsurprising. A compact Q1 SUV is expected to come to market in 2016 ahead of the Q8, and the automaker just unveiled the all-new Q3 and Q7 in Detroit.