BERLIN - If Audi decides to build the Steppenwolf, the car could be launched 'in under three years,' says a company source.
'The series production version [of the Steppenwolf] would be exactly like the show car,' said the source. 'With the TT [first shown as a concept at the 1995 Tokyo auto show] we have shown we can do it.'
Public reaction to the Steppenwolf was 'even more enthusiastic than our internal expectations,' said Werner Mischke, Audi management board member for development.
Audi unveiled the Steppenwolf at the Paris auto show last month. It is a four-wheel-drive concept designed to cope with extreme road conditions. Technically, it is based on a Golf/Audi A3 platform.
But Audi has not decided whether to build the Steppenwolf.
'We don't want to establish a routine where every Audi show car automatically turns into a series production car,' said Mischke.
With its off-road capabilities, elevated seating position and convertible roof, the Steppenwolf would be ideally suited to the US market - where the sport-utility is king.
'[If we decide to build the Steppenwolf] the VW-Audi plant in Curitiba, Brazil, could be a possible location,' said Mischke.
That would give the Steppenwolf a production site close to the USA.
The Curitiba plant opened last year and makes the VW Golf and Audi A3.
'We would need to establish a new line for the Steppenwolf,' said Mischke. 'There is no spare capacity. We are already thinking of importing A3 models from Curitiba into Europe to cope with demand. We would have to add capacity in Curitiba [to build the Steppenwolf].'