Audi isn’t sure exactly what its future holds, but a smaller crossover probably isn’t part of the equationby Robert Moore, on
Audi has been on an E-Tron roll lately, introducing four different models in a very short period of time. It started with the E-Tron GT, which hits the market before the end of the year. That was followed up by the Q4 E-Tron and the Q4 E-Tron Sportback. Right when we thought we had enough, Audi hit us with the A6 E-Tron Concept – a car that should have been called an A7, if it wasn’t for one very important reason. All of this leaves us with a few questions: When will the A6 E-Tron go into production, what’s Coming Next, and will Audi offer something smaller that the Q4?
There’s More to the Audi A6 E-Tron Concept Than You Realize
Audi’s Chief of Development, Johannes Arneth, told Autocar that there was a good reason that the A6 E-Tron Concept wasn’t called an A7, despite having similar proportions. After reading what he had to say, with an important emphasis on “the derivatives that could come later,” it became clear that Audi isn’t only looking to make a larger luxury EV Sedan, but it’s thinking along the lines of replacing the RS6 Avant when the time comes a few years from now. The fastback A6 E-Tron will probably arrive sometime in 2023 with the Avant model coming closer to 2025 when it’ll still have a good chance to take a big piece of the European market. But, this isn’t all that’s happening.
Audi Won’t Go Smaller Than the Q4 E-Tron – What It Means For the Lineup
With so much going on at the core of Audi’s electrification movement, there are definitely more questions than answers. Now, however, we at least have some answers as Audi CEO, Markus Duesmann, has sat down with Autocar to discuss what the brand’s strategy is in the future. First and foremost, despite the fact that the Q4 E-Tron is as spacious as the Q5 despite being more compact, Duesman doesn’t expect EVs, even when widely adopted, to change the basic struction fo the model range. Will the Q4 be Audi’s best seller? Well, not even Audi knows at this point, but with electrification being such a new territory, it makes predicting what the future holds even harder.
“Will the Q4 E-tron be the best-selling Audi? The truth is we don’t know. Deciding how much volume to install in our factories is one of the difficulties we have. We can react to changes, and that’s a good thing, but predicting demand was always difficult for cars with combustion engines, and this is harder.”
This is well and good, but what’s more important is that Audi isn’t looking to make an electric crossover that’s smaller than the Q4 E-Tron. Dusemann says the company does see some options in that regard, but he doesn’t favor the idea of going smaller, especially since VAG has a number of smaller offerings for customers that really want them.
“Maybe we will do it, but not in the short term. The Volkswagen Group provides other opportunities for people who want smaller and lower-cost EVs. We think our market position means we shouldn’t stretch too much for lower entry segments.”
With Growing Lineup of EVs, Audi Really Needs an EV Sports Car
With the recent news that Porsche is on the brink of revealing a Boxster EV – a car that I argue will force BMW and Audi to step up their game – it’s clear that Audi can’t stop now. As you know, we’ve been back and forth about what Audi is going to do with the TT and R8 going forward. Rumors have bounced back and forth for a while, and last we heard things weren’t looking too good. Following news that an R8 E-Tron might eventually happen, we learned that Audi was completely unclear on the future of the TT and R8, hinting that bad news could be coming. So, with the A6 E-tron in the works, and the new GT, Q4 E-Tron, and Q4 E-Tron Sportback ready to hit the market, it’s time for Audi to move to something else, and it’s not going to be a smaller SUV.
Audi Isn’t Sure When It Will Go All-Electric
What is arguably the most important piece of the whole interview is that Audi isn’t going to follow the path of other automakers to set a date at which all of its new cars will be EVs. In fact, the company’s entire future strategy is still evolving as its reviewed, and when that does happen, Audi is going to send the ICE out with a bang: “My official announcement is that the last combustion cars we make will be the best of that type we ever make.”
And, that’s the gist of it, folks. Audi isn’t ready to go full-on EV just yet, nor is it going to set a date for when that will happen. But, when the time comes, we’re going to see some awesome farewell models. In the interim, I expect Audi to start exploring a smaller sports car so that it can continue to compete in the market that Porsche is set to ignite with the Boxster EV.