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Official: Audi Q3 green light for 2011

X1 chaser: Audi has confirmed its long-anticipated Q3 sports SUV, based on the Audi Cross Coupe Quattro Concept.

Audi’s Spanish baby ‘Q’ sports SUV poised for Oz

23 Apr 2009

AUDI AG today confirmed plans to start production of its Q3 small crossover hatch in 2011, awarding the production deal to the VW Group’s Spanish subsidiary Seat.

Audi Australia also confirmed that it was “very interested” in the five-door, four-cylinder sports SUV, which is based on the Audi Cross Coupe Concept first shown at Auto Shanghai in 2007 and then at the Melbourne motor show last year.

The A3-sized, high-riding quattro Audi Q3 will expand the ‘Q’ range to three, sitting below the recently-launched, medium-sized Q5 and the large Q7, and give Audi a BMW X1 competitor.

The decision to make the Q3 at Seat’s Martorell plant scuttles a proposal to start Audi production in the United States, at least until sound economic conditions return.

European news reports suggest the deal to send Q3 production to Spain was on condition of a wage freeze by the workforce at the Martorell factory that turns out six Seat lines, including the Ibiza, Toledo and Cordoba, near Barcelona.

Audi was at pains to point out that the new Q3 would be “produced to Audi quality standards” at Martorell and said it would invest €300 ($A552 million) in the plant for a production capacity of up to 80,000 units a year.

The Q3 will be the first Audi built at the plant, but not the first outside Germany. Audi already has production facilities in Hungary, Belgium, Slovakia, India and China, as well as Germany.

7 center imageLeft: The Audi Cross Coupe Quattro Concept.

Audi AG chairman Rupert Stadler said Martorell had been selected for Q3 production after an extensive international comparison of production sites.

“We are counting on this Spanish site’s efficiency, the excellent quality of the production department, and its highly trained staff,” he said.

“We will use the (VW) Group’s synergies to sharpen our competitive edge and help protect around 1200 jobs. The decision furthermore safeguards workplaces at other Audi locations.”

Audi’s media release confirmed that US production proposals had been shelved, saying: “Having agreed that the Q3 will be manufactured in Spain, a decision about production in the USA has been postponed.”

Mr Stadler added: “We will systematically explore our options in the context of the current market crisis. Audi is in a good position. There is currently no urgent need to select additional sites.”

The coupe-like Q3 joins the Audi A1 mini on the production launch pad for 2011.

Audi said the Q3 “will blend a compact car’s design and driving dynamics with an SUV’s spaciousness and versatility. True to Audi tradition, innovative technical solutions will blaze new trails in efficiency, driving pleasure, and comfort.”

Audi Australia general manager corporate communications Anna Burgdorf said today that, while it was too early to speculate on Q3 plans for Australia, Audi Australia would be “very interested” in it.

She said timing and other details had not been confirmed.

Based on the announced European launch date of 2011, an Australian launch could be possible the same year.

The Audi announcement from Europe also confirmed the “Q3” name for the new model, even though Nissan’s Infiniti luxury division already uses that badge in North America.

It had been anticipated that Audi might stick with the ‘Cross Coupe’ nomenclature rather than go into battle with Nissan. However, it is possible a deal has been struck between the companies.

Read more:

First drive: Newest Audi Q-car hits Oz

First look: Audi cleans up Q7

New-model blitz edges Audi closer to domination

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