Audi is delaying the launch of three crossover variants so they won't get lost in the industry's frenzied year-end blowouts.
By introducing the new compact Q5 crossover along with diesel and hybrid variants of the larger Q7 crossover in early 2009, Audi expects to make a bigger impact, says Johan de Nysschen, head of Audi of America Inc.
By delaying the introductions, Audi can label the vehicles 2010 models. They had been scheduled to debut in the third quarter of next year.
“The decision is also related to maintaining higher residuals and added marketing opportunities — we could use the Detroit auto show to market them,” says de Nysschen.
The Q5 hasn't been shown. It is Audi's answer to the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK, which also is due in 2009.
The Q7 hybrid will have a 3.6-liter, 280-hp fuel-injected gasoline engine mated to an electric motor. The hybrid system will use about 23 percent less fuel than a gasoline-only Q7.
A turbodiesel Q7 will be powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 engine that makes about 230 hp and about 400 pounds-feet of torque. The diesel will be Audi's first in the United States and can be sold in all 50 states.
De Nysschen says the same engine can be used in the Q5 as well as the A4, A6 and A8 cars. Bringing those diesel models to the United States “is just a matter of formality,” he says.
The more important issue is whether Audi could sell enough of the diesels, he says. “The U.S. has to pay is own way.”
You may e-mail Diana T. Kurylko at [email protected]