Audi appears to be flip-flopping on its product development plans, as Car reports that we won’t see an Audi A0 city car based on the VW Up! (pictured), after all. In fact, Audi will instead push for a 4×4 super-SUV based on the Q7, to be badged the Q9.
Board chairman Rupert Stadler confirmed to Car that Audi does not need any car smaller than the A1, which is roughly the size of a MINI Cooper. “We are quite happy with A1,” Stadler told Car. “It sells 120,000 units, and has a high degree of equipment and accessories, so [profit margins] are quite good.”
We’d heard last November that Stadler wanted an Audi microcar “by the second half of the decade,” and that it would be a more powerful variant of the VW Up!. The Up!, which is offered with either 59- or 74-hp three-cylinder engines, already spawned the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo corporate siblings. The Audi version was rumored to adopt the 1.0-liter turbocharged engine seen on the Up! GT concept at the 2011 Frankfurt show.
Around that same time in 2011, it was looking less likely that Audi would expand its model range to include a larger Q9 SUV. European bureau chief Georg Kacher reported that the company was moving in a different direction, after Stadler said he “looked at [the large SUV] segment long and hard. Right now, I am inclined to ignore it.”
Now, Stadler reportedly told Car that Audi wants to expand the Q-range to account for 45 percent of sales by 2020. The all-wheel-drive Audi Q9 luxury super-SUV, which Stadler claims would offer an e-tron plug-in hybrid drivetrain, would go toe-to-toe with the future BMW X7 and next-gen Mercedes GL projected for 2018. Audi reportedly trademarked the Q9 badge last year.