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Audi sweats on Q7 V6 diesel fix

Big blue: As BMW’s all-new X5 warms up in the wings ahead of its Australian launch this month, Audi is without its most affordable Q7 variants due to a diesel pollution control device problem.

Q7 sales fall 86 per cent in October as Audi sales suspension on diesel V6 drags on

Audi logo9 Nov 2018

AUDI Australia is still awaiting an engineering fix for a potential emissions management control problem that forced the suspension from sale of two of the three Q7 variants last month, contributing to a plunge of more than 80 per cent in Audi’s large-SUV sales in October.
 
The dealership stop-sale order issued on both new and used V6 diesel Q7 TDIs last month could barely have come at a more difficult time, with rival BMW’s all-new X5 large SUV about to land in Australian showrooms within a fortnight.
 
Mercedes-Benz is also preparing to launch its all-new GLE in April next year, turning up the heat in the luxury-SUV market.
 
For Audi, the arrival of the all-new Q8 upper-large SUV late this year provides the prospect of some relief at the top end of the segment, but it will be hoping the Q7 is back and firing on all cylinders by then as well.
 
A design flaw in Q7s powered by the 160kW and 200kW versions of the 3.0-litre TDI V6 diesel engine means that the system cannot detect if the AdBlue anti-pollution system has been filled with AdBlue or an incorrect solution, opening the possibility of tampering.
 
AdBlue is a fluid made up of urea and deionised water that is injected into a diesel vehicle’s exhaust system to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) – one of the main causes of urban smog. AdBlue breaks down the NOx into harmless water and nitrogen.
 
Audi engineers are attempting to come up with a fix so that only AdBlue can be fed through the system.
 
Audi Australia corporate communications manager Shaun Cleary told GoAuto that engineers were working on a solution and that once it had been optimised and installed, sales would resume as quickly as possible.
 
In the meantime, the two V6 TDI Q7s have been withdrawn for sale in Australia, leaving dealers only able to sell the flagship V8 4.0-litre diesel SQ7 at $161,900 plus on-road costs.
 
Mr Cleary said the plug-in hybrid Q7 e-tron that had been offered in Australia as a limited edition earlier this year had not been stopped, even though it uses a diesel V6 in tandem with an electric motor.
 
Q7 sales have fallen from 266 in June to just 29 last month. That October tally is down 86 per cent on the same month last year, while year-to-date Q7 sales have now declined 31 per cent.
 
The issue is a sensitive one for the company in the wake of the unrelated Volkswagen Group dieselgate scandal that also engulfed Audi.
 
Meanwhile, official VFACTS sales data shows Audi last month registered four new Q8s ahead of the car’s media launch in December and showroom launch in January.
 
The Q8 is set to be launched with a 3.0-litre TFSI petrol engine, with a 3.0-litre diesel alternative to follow later in 2019.

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