MUNICH (Reuters) -- Audi wants to expand its product range and may develop an SUV positioned above its Q7 model, CEO Rupert Stadler said.
"We want to expand the upper segment," Stadler told journalists at an event on Thursday. "We are discussing a Q8."
Stadler's remarks come shortly after rival BMW unveiled plans to build a new X7 in response to customer demand for an SUV/crossover with three rows of seats.
The Q8 would be aimed at markets such as the United States, China and the Middle East where large coupe-styled SUVs are in demand. It would also be a rival to the upcoming Mercedes MLC.
Audi already has approved production of the Q7 and aims to start sales within the next three years, media reports said earlier this week.
Audi, BMW and Mercedes are all expanding their SUV lineups in the coming years to six models, and overhauling those currently on the market. The segment is critical as premium SUV sales will surge 32 percent to 4.93 million vehicles in 2020, with the strongest growth coming from China, according to an IHS Automotive forecast.
Audi plans to add SUVs badged as the Q1, Q2, Q4 and Q6, as well as the Q8, reports said.
On Thursday, Stadler also said Audi wants to add more models to the segment of midsize sedans where it currently offers the A6.
Bloomberg and Automotive News Europe contributed to this report