Audi posted an 8.3-percent sales increase in the United States for June, marking the 54th consecutive monthly sales record for the brand. But even more remarkable might have been another fact from the June sales report: Audi SUV sales rose by 24.1 percent over a year ago.
The SUV sales performance reflects the Audi line-up’s popularity with customers and suggests a positive future, given the company’s upcoming sport utility offerings.
Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, has made it clear that the company will be focusing on launches of crossovers and SUVs in the coming years, as forecasts show that the U.S. and global markets are further shifting toward utility vehicles.
Each SUV in the Audi U.S. lineup saw gains in June and during the first half of the year. Through June, sales of the Audi Q7 were 1.1 percent higher than a year earlier, with a 14.1-percent month-on-month surge in June. An all-new Q7 is set to go on sale in the U.S. early in 2016. Sales of the popular Q5 were 8.7 percent higher for the year; and Q3, a new nameplate, saw sales of more than 6,200 units in the U.S. market. The updated 2016 Q3 will be in dealerships late summer.
This popularity of its sport utility line is serving to extend and strengthen the Audi brand, because each Audi SUV expresses the spirit of Audi just as every sedan does, Stadler told Automotive News Europe.
“Regardless of the size of the SUV, we strive to be the most sought-after model in the segment,” he said. “Our SUVs are not utilitarian off-roaders; they are true premium vehicles, particularly in terms of interior fit and finish.”
Stadler has said that Audi plans to build a Q1 subcompact crossover beginning next year (it’s not expected to be offered in the U.S.), an electric-powered sporty SUV in 2018 and a new, flagship Audi Q8 SUV beginning in 2019.
“Globally, we will respond proactively to the growing number of customers who enjoy SUVs’ higher driving position and their sense of enhanced safety,” Stadler told the publication.
The company’s plans for more SUVs should continue to hit the sweet spot of rising demand for the vehicle type generally, and especially among premium consumers. Of course, there will be competition: Crossovers will account for 66 models, or 32 percent of the U.S. vehicle launches expected for the 2016 through 2019 model years, according to the latest annual “Car Wars” evaluation of the industry by Merrill Lynch.