While German automakers are still talking a lot about electric cars and the benefits of diesel, they are also quietly rolling out hybrid models. As hybrids continue to increase in popularity, many European automakers are starting to take after their Japanese counterparts, especially as the Japanese have done such an excellent job penetrating the European luxury market over the past two decades.
With BMW recently delivering a hybrid X6 and 7 Series, now Audi is getting into the game with a hybridized version of the Q5 - aimed squarely at the Lexus RX, which dominates the entry level luxury crossover segment.
Like the rest of the German automakers, Audi is playing the whole hybrid thing low-key, even hiding the news of the Q5 Hybrid inside a press release about investing in the future. This isn’t particularly surprising, especially from Audi, who’s U.S. boss, Johan de Nysschen, was widely quoted several months back slamming hybrid technology like that found in the Chevy Volt.
And so while hybrid technology isn’t a part of Audi’s big marketing push and brand image, the automaker certainly aims to stay relevant and compete. The 2011 Q5 hybrid will, after all, be on sale in late 2010 – less than 12 months away.
Official release after the jump:
Audi continues to invest strongly in the future
7.3 billion euros total investment from 2009 through 2012
Around 5.9 billion euros for new products and future technologies
Number of models to increase from 34 now to 42 in 2015
Audi will continue to invest heavily in new products and forward-looking technologies in the future: plans for 2009 through 2012 envisage total investments of 7.3 billion euros for fixed assets.
In coming years the Audi Group will continue to invest strongly in its future. Approximately 5.9 billion euros, in other words about 80 percent of its total investment in fixed assets, will be devoted to new product development, further optimization of conventional drivelines and the development of electric and hybrid models. By 2015, the Audi brand will have enlarged its product portfolio from currently 34 to 42 models. “With our planned investments in new products and mobility concepts, for example electric propulsion, we are creating a basis for our company’s future growth,” says Axel Strotbek, Member of the Board of Management for Finance and Organization at AUDI AG.
Next year Audi will launch a series of new cars. The A1, A7, A8 and R8 Spyder will be added to the product portfolio during 2010. At the end of 2010 Audi will unveil the Audi Q5 Hybrid, which will reach the market at the start of 2011 as the brand’s first full hybrid model. As Strotbek points out: “We will be in a position to finance all our planned investments from our operative cash flow.”
At the German locations and elsewhere, future policy is now being implemented: from 2009 through 2012 approximately 3.8 billion euros will be invested at the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm plants. “This is a firm commitment to our German facilities. Audi is facing the technological upheaval in the automobile world in a farsighted way. The will to work and high qualifications of employees at our German plants are a firm foundation for the necessary changes,” states Peter Mosch, Chairman of the Audi General Works Council.
About 2.5 billion euros will be invested at Ingolstadt and about 1.3 billion euros at Neckarsulm. A new transmission and emissions center will be opened at the Ingolstadt plant, and other investment priorities will be stamping tools for the new Audi A1 and the manufacturing structures for the A3 and A4 models. The investment focus in Neckarsulm will be on the A6, A7 und A8 models and new engine-function test rigs