Audi Q5 - Click above for high-res image gallery

Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen doesn't seem to be a big fan of electric vehicles, yet the four-ringed automaker appears to be warming to the green tech. Since de Nysschen's assault on the Chevrolet Volt (and electric vehicles in general), the German luxury automaker has unveiled the sweet-looking eTron concept, and it is now officially confirming that it will venture into the hybrid market.

Audi published a press release today touting the billions of euros it is spending to increase its product portfolio from 34 models to 42 in 2015. One of the info-bits buried within the text is the promised 2011 arrival of a Q5 hybrid, a development first rumored back in May. The hybrid Q5 would be Audi's first full hybrid vehicle, giving the German luxury car maker an entry in the growing green scene. Audi didn't take the opportunity to provide any details about powertrains or battery types, but it does say that the Q5 hybrid would be officially unveiled by the end of 2010.

Audi has in the past said that it didn't plan to go all-in on hybrids due to the fact that the German automaker feels diesels make more sense both financially and in terms of practicality, particularly for the U.S. market. While most of us around AB agree with this thought process, we think that if Audi has decided to pursue gas-electric models anyway, the hot-selling Q5 should make a good first hybrid – especially as its size will enable Audi engineers to more easily fit an electric motor and a battery pack into its CUV proportions. Further, the Q5's somewhat hefty price tag might help hide some of the added cost associated with a hybrid powertrain. Hit the jump to read over the official verbiage.

[Source: Audi]


PRESS RELEASE:

Audi continues to invest strongly in the future

7.3 billion euros total investment from 2009 through 2012
Around 5.9 billion euros for new products and future technologies
Number of models to increase from 34 now to 42 in 2015

Audi will continue to invest heavily in new products and forward-looking technologies in the future: plans for 2009 through 2012 envisage total investments of 7.3 billion euros for fixed assets.

In coming years the Audi Group will continue to invest strongly in its future. Approximately 5.9 billion euros, in other words about 80 percent of its total investment in fixed assets, will be devoted to new product development, further optimization of conventional drivelines and the development of electric and hybrid models. By 2015, the Audi brand will have enlarged its product portfolio from currently 34 to 42 models. "With our planned investments in new products and mobility concepts, for example electric propulsion, we are creating a basis for our company's future growth," says Axel Strotbek, Member of the Board of Management for Finance and Organization at AUDI AG.

Next year Audi will launch a series of new cars. The A1, A7, A8 and R8 Spyder will be added to the product portfolio during 2010. At the end of 2010 Audi will unveil the Audi Q5 Hybrid, which will reach the market at the start of 2011 as the brand's first full hybrid model. As Strotbek points out: "We will be in a position to finance all our planned investments from our operative cash flow."

At the German locations and elsewhere, future policy is now being implemented: from 2009 through 2012 approximately 3.8 billion euros will be invested at the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm plants. "This is a firm commitment to our German facilities. Audi is facing the technological upheaval in the automobile world in a farsighted way. The will to work and high qualifications of employees at our German plants are a firm foundation for the necessary changes," states Peter Mosch, Chairman of the Audi General Works Council.

About 2.5 billion euros will be invested at Ingolstadt and about 1.3 billion euros at Neckarsulm. A new transmission and emissions center will be opened at the Ingolstadt plant, and other investment priorities will be stamping tools for the new Audi A1 and the manufacturing structures for the A3 and A4 models. The investment focus in Neckarsulm will be on the A6, A7 und A8 models and new engine-function test rigs