GERMANY: Audi to develop niche products to take on Mercedes and BMW
Audi is likely to put a supercar into production as its icon, Audi AG chairman Martin Winterkorn said.
The automaker is nearer and nearer to giving the Le Mans quattro the green light, Winterkorn told Automotive News Europe. Audi showed the car at the 2003 Frankfurt motor show. It featured a 5.0-liter biturbo engine with 610 bhp.
The Le Mans would be among several niche vehicles Audi plans to introduce to round out its product range, Winterkorn said. Audi targets global sales of 1 million vehicles by the end of the decade.
To become a true competitor to the German luxury brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz, they will go into niches, he added. Audi's product range consists of the A3, A4, A6 and A8. It lacks SUVs and sport coupes.
Audi is rolling out the redesigned A4 in the United States. It will have at least two more derivatives than the previous generation, Winterkorn said.
The last generation had three body styles: a sedan, a station wagon and a convertible. One of the new A4 variants will be a small SUV, the Q5, Winterkorn said. Audi is developing the vehicle primarily for sale in Europe. It is expected in the market in about three years. Audi aims a larger SUV, the Q7, at the United States. The Q7 is due next year.