It's a three-way horse race among Germany's three main luxury brands for first place in global sales, and Audi is poised to potentially take the top spot in 2013. A key growth driver for the brand's success has been, and will continue to be sport-utility vehicles, with Audi CEO Rupert Stadler citing data that every fourth premium model sold worldwide is an SUV.
According to Bloomberg, Audi plans to double its lineup of SUV offerings by 2020, with intermediate sporty crossover models to slot between its more mainstream offerings, such as the Q3, Q5 and Q7. The names of the tweener models are naturally Q2, Q4 and Q6. Volkswagen's upscale division is also planning to invest $14.3 billion and increase its production footprint outside of Germany in its pursuit of archrival BMW.
Audi is expanding capacity of its plant in Hungary, and will open a plant in Foshan, China, later in 2013. Construction on a plant in Mexico will begin in May, which will build Q5 SUVs for the Western Hemisphere starting in 2016. Audi will also start production in Russia soon for its Q5 and Q7 SUV models for local consumption.
Stadler said the brand expects to build more models outside of Germany than within for the first time in 2013. Audi is also considering manufacturing in Brazil, which Stadler says is a "very, very interesting market."