Will Audi overtake BMW’s position as the world’s largest premium automaker?

Audi believes that by winning over more customers with their SUVs, they will be able to overtake BMW’s position as the world’s largest premium automaker by 2020. They’re spending 24 billion euros ($26.12 billion) through 2019 in an effort to make it happen.

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, 52, is particularly bullish about the automaker’s fast-growing SUV lineup. He explained why in an April interview with Automotive News Europe Editor Luca Ciferri at the Shanghai auto show.

Q: Audi will have 60 models or variants by 2020. Which body style will account for the majority of the lineup?

A: Globally, we will respond proactively to the growing number of customers who enjoy SUVs’ higher driving position and their sense of enhanced safety. We already decided to go smaller with the Q1 and to go bigger with the Q8. Regardless of the size of the SUV, we strive to be the most sought-after model in the segment. For example, the transaction price for a Q7 is very similar to our A8 flagship sedan because our SUVs are not utilitarian off-roaders.

Last year Audi showed the SUV-inspired TT Off-road Concept. Is that Audi’s vision for a sporty compact SUV that may be badged as the TTQ?

The feedback for that concept was very positive, but no decision has been made on whether we will build something like that. If such a model will get the green light, to be at the top of its segment it would need to be underpinned by the next generation of the MQB architecture. That means it would not arrive until after 2020.

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