Audi has revealed that it is planning to expand its range of Q cars with the launch of a new small SUV in 2016, while also looking at how to fill other niches.
Head of the Niche Development Program, Professor Korbi Tröserprest, said: “Finding new niches is becoming increasingly tough but we’re up to the challenge. We were brainstorming ideas for new Q models when a clever person spotted that we had only used odd numbers. With the Q1 concept now passed onto the engineers we started to look for niches we could target with a Q2, Q4 and Q6.
“We have designed a Q2 for individuals in their late 20s or early 30s, social media types, who are still living with their parents. With full 4G connectivity it will allow them to continue using the internet while sheltering from awkward questions about when they’re going to grow up and get a house of their own.
Moving up the scale, the Q4 will be designed to meet the demands of people who have dogs. Lots of dogs. This is a group of people who actually need a big car with off-road ability. You’d think the A6 Quattro would suffice but some see this car as too ordinary, and the lower cabin means they may occasionally have to make eye contact with their fellow road users.
Meanwhile, the Q6 will have a large load bay designed specifically to accommodate two Billy bookcases and a Bjursta sideboard from Ikea, as that’s where our focus groups tell us that Q owners spend a lot of their time.”
Audi bosses even see space for a model larger than the Q7. Tröserprest adds: “Our exciting idea of using even numbers led us to brainstorm a design for a seven-seater Q8, although the market for such a car is limited as owners would need a driveway the size of Ingolstadt on which to park it.”
The Audi allroad shooting brake, revealed this week in Detroit, demonstrates what we might expect to see in a small Audi SUV. Tröserprest boasts that “this new concept is one of our most exciting niches yet. We looked at the market projections for a small off-roader that looks a bit like an estate that’s been sat on by an elephant and were amazed. Our market research suggested that we might be looking at sales of tens of units per year. You don’t get much more niche than that.”
There are even rumours of spin-off models based on the upcoming TT and Tröserprest’s eyes light up when asked what this could mean. “Wait until BMW and Mercedes get a load of what we’ve got planned” he says with a grin. “We’re going to be the first to market with our coupé camper-van concept. When it comes to finding niches, we rock, ja!”