Audi has been on the offensive, aggressively building its market share in the U.S. in hopes of beating out the record-setting sales numbers from the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz. To help boost its numbers, Audi is planning a pretty aggressive roll-out of new models for our market – could the Q3 compact crossover be in the cards?
In an interview with Bloomberg, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler stated that the automaker will be bringing a “Vail” concept version of the Q3 SUV to the Detroit auto show next week. “The next pillar of the market that we have to conquer is the United States.” Stadler told Bloomberg. “We see opportunities in the SUV and sedan segments.”
The Q3, which went on sale in Europe in the middle of last year, slots below the Q5 in Audi’s lineup of crossovers. It’s been rumored since the debut of the Cross Coupe Concept at the 2007 Shanghai auto show that Audi could bring a smaller SUV to the U.S. BMW had planned to bring its compact X1 crossover to our shores, but has indefinitely put those plans on hold due to high demand in Europe and Asia for the car.
There are currently no definite plans to bring the Q3 here, but if it does, expect to see both the 2.0-liter direct-injected I-4 and 2.0-liter turbodiesel I-4 offered in Europe to make the trip along with optional Quattro all-wheel drive seven-speed. Enthusiasts can hope that the standard six-speed manual makes the trip across the pond, but chances are that the seven-speed S-tronic dual-clutch gearbox will be the only transmission choice for American buyers.
Not much is known about the Q3 Vail Concept, but when we spoke to Audi we were told to expect a “themed concept.” Given the name, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Q3 concept has something to do with posh winter skiing in the Colorado Rockies. The appearance of a Q3 in Detroit shows that Audi is serious about testing U.S. interest in its smaller SUV.
Check back next week after Audi takes the wrap off the Q3 Vail Concept, and stay with AutomobileMag.com for all of the coverage from the 2012 Detroit auto show.