The battle axes are sharpened and starting to swing in Germany between the three largest luxury car makers, as Audi admits for the first time that they plan to sell their compact Q3 SUV in America.
The Volkswagen-based luxury brand has been hinting and teasing the notion that we might get the Q3 on North American soil, but until now there wasn't any way to be sure. Now Audi has confirmed it will reveal a Q3 "Vail" Concept at the Detroit Auto Show on Monday, using the vehicle as part of a larger strategy to overtake BMW as the top-selling luxury brand by 2015.
"The next pillar of the market that we have to conquer is the United States," Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said in London on Thursday. "We see opportunities in the SUV and sedan segments."
Audi has been growing as a brand outside the U.S. but making a more solid footprint in the American market is essential for them to meet their goal. Here in the States BMW and Mercedes still have a strong grip on luxury sales, but by introducing smaller cars, Audi may be able to change that. Along with the Q3, Audi is expected to deliver several versions of its next generation A3, including a sedan.
Another key point in their strategy will be manufacturing cars domestically rather than shipping and therefore significantly limiting availability to consumers, something BMW and Mercedes have already figured out.
It isn't as easy as flipping a switch, though, according to Stadler, Audi is finally profitable in America, giving them the confidence to go from wading into full swim.
"In the next decade, we will have to think about the next icon in the Audi brand," Stadler said. Given the strong trend toward smaller, more economy-minded cars, we're eager to see what he has up his sleeve.
More: Audi Q3 "Vail" Concept Headed to Detroit Auto Show on Autoguide.com