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Audi gunning for segment leadership with new Q3

Second-generation Q3 small SUV to top segment, be one of the best sellers for Audi

11 Oct 2019

AUDI Australia says it fully expects its all-new, second-generation Q3 to become the best-selling small SUV in the $40,000-plus segment, leading a resurgence for the German brand after an underwhelming sales performance in 2019.


The new Q3 replaces the first-generation model that first went on sale in 2012 and enjoyed three consecutive years as the best-selling premium small SUV from 2013 to 2015.


In 2018, it still managed to crack the top three in its segment with 2497 sales, however it was well off the pace of the Mercedes-Benz GLA that managed 3906 units.


Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the all-new Q3, Audi Australia chief customer and marketing officer Nikki Warburton said the brand sees huge potential in the fresh high-rider.


“Absolutely (it should be the segment leader)”, she said. “I think for us we see such potential, not only in the category and the growth in the category, but in the way the guys have packaged the value into the car and the price point.


“We see it’s got huge potential to continue to grow and drive and hopefully lead that category.”


Ms Warburton was confident of the Q3’s success due in part to the interest shown by customers, with potential buyers having to wait since it was revealed in July last year.


“It’s been really strong, really strong. So we’ve had a register-your-interest campaign in market, and it’s been really strong,” she said.


“And also we gauge a knowledge of that from our dealer network, and they’re saying that there’s a lot of demand out there for Q3, so yes, we’re feeling really positive about the uptake, so we just want to get the car to market now.”


The brand added that the introducing the Sportback body style for the first time in the first quarter will add extra volume to the Q3, which is not expected to outsell the traditional SUV but will make up a significant portion of sales.


Going by last year’s figures, the Q3 would have to achieve around 4000 sales per year to top the premium small-SUV segment, which would put it neck-and-neck with Audi’s best-selling SUV, the Q5, which tallied 4086 units in 2018 – just shy of the A3’s 4257 sales that was the brand’s best-selling model.


When asked whether the Q3 could become the best-selling model for the brand given the premium small-SUV segment has grown by 376 per cent from 2012-18, Audi Australia corporate communications manager Shaun Cleary said it had a chance to best the Q5 and A3.


“Maybe with Q3 Sportback it has potential,” he said. “Clearly it’s in the right segment, it’s the right size, it’s growing.


“It’s by far the best offer we’ve had it in the market, so there’s no reason why we wouldn’t aim very high with the new Q3.”


Audi Australia is not fearful of cannibalisation between the Q3 and slightly smaller Q2 which chalked up 1865 sales last year, with the new Q3 growing both with its exterior dimensions and interior space, putting further distance between it and the Q2.


In the third quarter of 2020, the Q3 range will be expanded to include the high-performance RS Q3 wagon, which with no SQ3 announced so far, will be the only performance variant in the range.


When asked if the RS Q3 could become the most popular Audi Sport model in the range, Audi Australia senior product planning executive Peter Strudwicke said it would be difficult to unseat the RS3 hatch and sedan, but given the age difference between the RS3 and RS Q3, it could come close.


“RS3 was significantly higher in the previous generation,” he said. “It sometimes depends on your model life cycle. RS3 has obviously been in the model cycle for a while. This is young and fresh, so it remains to be seen in a way, but it will certainly be one of the most popular RS models.”


Mr Cleary added that a greater shift to RS Q3 over the previous generation would not be a surprise for Audi Australia.


The all-new Q3 goes on sale on November 22, with the Sportback, 40 TFSI powertrain and RS Q3 all due to arrive in the next 12 months.

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