Audi debates bringing Q3 crossover to U.S.
FRANKFURT -- Audi hasn't decided whether to bring the compact Q3 crossover to the United States, but it could happen in three years after a midlife freshening, said Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi of America.
"We have to look at the economic feasibility, and it has to hit targets. We have to overcome certain challenges," de Nysschen said at the Frankfurt auto show.
One big obstacle is price. It must be low enough to attract buyers but high enough to make a profit, he said.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, Audi AG board member for sales and marketing, said there is likely a market for the Q3 in the United States. "I think the U.S. is ready for a car below the Q5," he said. Audi launched the Q3 in Europe a year ago.
BMW AG has delayed bringing the new, similar-sized X1 crossover to the United States. Ian Robertson, board member for sales and marketing, said in an interview here that BMW would reconsider U.S. sales when the X1 gets a midlife freshening in about 18 months.
De Nysschen said Audi's reluctance to bring the Q3 is also tied to the brand's strategy of gaining a stronger foothold in the upper segments of the luxury market with its bigger Q7 crossover and A8, A7 and A6 sedans.
The A3 sedan, developed primarily for the United States, will go on sale in 2014, de Nysschen said. Until it comes, Audi of America will continue to sell the current-generation A3 hatchback and will not import the redesigned version scheduled to arrive in Europe next year.
In the United States, the A3 sedan will lure back buyers the brand lost as the A4 sedan grew in size with each redesign, de Nysschen predicted.
Schwarzenbauer said Audi may sell the A2 compact in the United States if the vehicle is approved for production. Production of the A2 ended six years ago, but Audi is considering a revival.
Said Schwarzenbauer: "If we decide to make this car, we will definitely have a look at it for the U.S."
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