Before the new year is done, Audi will introduce two new crossovers. The announcement comes as part of a planned €3 billion investment plan for 2016, and will include a new Q5 as well as the addition of a new Q2 model into the range. That's pretty ambitious considering the company hadn't produced its first SUV until ten years ago.
The replacement for the Q5 should be fairly straightforward, replacing a model that already exists. The current Q5 was launched in 2008 and underwent a refresh in 2012. Expect the new model to offer similar dimensions and specifications, but with improvements to help it fend off the likes of the Mercedes GLC, BMW X3, and the Porsche Macan which shares its MLB underpinnings.
The arrival of the Q2, however, promises to take Audi's crossover range further downmarket. With the existing Q3 already taking on Mercedes GLA and BMW X1, the Q2 could go a size smaller to rival the next Mini Countryman. Whatever form it takes, we'll find out within the year, according to Audi.
Beyond next year, Audi says it will build its first volume electric vehicle in 2018. The vehicle will take the form of a battery-powered crossover, previewed by the E-Tron Quattro concept (pictured) at the Frankfurt Motor Show this past September. With these and other additions, Audi aims to expand its range to 60 models by 2020.
Audi launched into the crossover market with the debut of the original Q7 in 2005. It has since expanded its high-riding lineup with the arrival of the Q5 in 2008 and the smaller Q3 (in overseas markets at least) in 2011. The Q2 is one of several new crossovers said to be in the works at Ingolstadt, including a potential slant-back crossover coupe to be dubbed Q6 and a Q4 to put the TT Offroad concept into production.
- Capital expenditure of more than € 3 billion in 2016
- Audi CEO Rupert Stadler: "Continuing with high levels of investment in future technologies to enhance strong position"
- Axel Strotbek, Board of Management Member for Finance and Organization: "Gaining financial scope through further cost optimization"
- Audi Board of Management Member for Human Resources Thomas Sigi: "Looking for experts in areas important for the future"
Audi will lay the foundations for future growth in 2016. In the coming financial year, the company plans to continue with its high levels of investment. Along with further process and cost optimization, the planned capital expenditure is to amount to more than € 3 billion, and will support the Ingolstadt-based company along its successful path. Half of the planned investment will take place at the German sites in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm. Furthermore, Audi will recruit additional experts in the field of future technologies once again in 2016.
The company intends to push forward with its growth strategy with the approved investment program in 2016: "We are continuing with our high levels of investment in future technologies to enhance the strong position of our brand," emphasized Audi CEO Rupert Stadler. The car producer also plans to enter a new market segment with the Audi Q2 model next year.
In addition, Audi will present the successor of the Audi Q5 next year, thus continuing with the next chapter of its SUV success story. "A significant proportion of our investment is naturally in the field of alternative drive systems," stated Stadler. In 2018, the first large‑series battery‑electric vehicle of the brand with the Four Rings will be launched, based on the Audi e-tron Quattro concept. By 2020, Audi will expand its model range to include 60 different automobiles.
While Audi is consciously investing in new models and technologies, as well as in the expansion of its worldwide production network, CFO Axel Strotbek also sees potential for continual cost improvements: "With the current investment program, we obviously want to enhance the brand's strong position, but at the same time, we aim to achieve additional financial scope by means of further process and cost optimization." According to Strotbek, the company will not save at the expense of its future, but every investment will be carefully examined. The Board of Management has therefore decided to postpone the construction of a new wind tunnel for one year.
Audi continues to accelerate in the area of digitalization. In early December, the company acquired a one‑third interest in HERE, thus safeguarding the cooperation with a leading provider of digital maps and location-based services. Audi's share of the purchase price amounts to € 0.85 billion. In order to maintain its "Vorsprung durch Technik" also in the future, the company will strengthen its workforce as it progresses along its growth path in 2016. Thomas Sigi, Board of Management Member for Human Resources at AUDI AG, stated: "We are looking for experts in areas important for the future." Demand is particularly strong for specialists in alternative drive systems and lightweight construction, but also for IT specialists, who will further develop the fields of Audi connect, Audi mobility and smart factory in the context of digitalization.