As Audi pushes new and refreshed product out the door in a mad rush, hoping to create the youngest lineup of any German automaker, it can’t ignore the requests of brand loyalists. In the United States, those buyers want one thing more anything else: a bigger SUV.
The three-row Q7 is nice, but in the land of Expeditions and Suburbans, it simply doesn’t measure up. Space-obsessed German vehicle aficionados can climb into a Mercedes-Benz GLS and enjoy more room. Naturally, Audi isn’t about to let an opportunity slip away.
It also wants to do something about those pesky buyers who want more cargo room, but won’t drive an SUV.
Speaking at the launch of the A5 and S5 Sportback in Seattle, Audi of America planning director Barry Hoch said the automaker’s lineup has plenty of room to expand — especially in the upward direction. According to Automotive News, Hoch claims the company’s American brass are busy pressuring Ingolstadt to give U.S. buyers what they want most.
“For us, obviously, one request from this side of the ocean is to have an even bigger SUV,” said Hoch. “That’s pure white space that’s out there for us. From an American perspective, that’s one we are pushing to get, and I think we’re getting some traction.”
While Audi has a coupe-like Q8 SUV in the works, the luxury-laden model won’t best the Q7 in terms of passenger or cargo space. The concept shown in Detroit this year only had four seats! That simply won’t do. Americans need space for dogs and muddy (but not too muddy) kids.
As it strong-arms its corporate overlords to green-light something huge, Audi has other customers to think about. Namely, those who think SUVs are crass.
Explaining that a segment of American Audi buyers remain staunchly “anti-SUV,” Hoch said he’d like to see more cargo-friendly offerings on the smaller end of the lineup. The automaker has already decided to hatchback all the things, but only one wagon exists stateside — the A4 Allroad.
There is a small group of aficionados who could benefit from an additional wagon from Audi,” Hoch said. “It’s certainly something that we see over in Europe, and I want it.”
European buyers can still buy an A6 wagon in Avant, Allroad, S6 and RS 6 guises, something American wagon snobs (or auto journos) can only dream of.
[Image: Audi AG]