Audi could discontinue the Q8 e-tron because no one’s buying big electric SUVs

Audi could discontinue the Q8 e-tron because no one’s buying big electric SUVs

  • The move, should Audi go ahead with it, would be one of the first major impacts of the slowdown in EV demand globally.
The Audi Q8 e-tron is built at the automaker’s Brussels plant in Belgium that could be closed amidst low demand for EVs

Audi has announced it is considering discontinuing the flagship Q8 e-tron and Q8 e-tron Sportback prematurely as the future of its Brussels manufacturing facility in Belgium remains uncertain. The move, should Audi go ahead with it, would be one of the first major impacts of the slowdown in EV demand globally. It will be the first time that the Volkswagen Group will shut down a plant in the region.

Audi could cease operations at the Brussels plant

A statement from the German automaker read, “Audi is witnessing a global decline in customer orders in the electric luxury class segment. This affects the Q8 e-tron and Q8 Sportback e-tron models, which roll off the production line in Brussels. Audi is therefore considering the early end of production at the Brussels site.”

Also Read : Audi Q8 e-tron electric SUV launched in India.

Audi said that its board management at the Brussels facility has informed the company council of their intention to carry out a restructuring at the facility. The company said that the Brussels site had long-standing structural challenges due to its proximity to the city centre and high logistics costs. The automaker said that this led to high production costs in Brussels compared to other sites.

Audi Q8 e-tron Brussels Plant
Audi is looking at alternative solutions for the Brussels plant but could cease operations entirely if no solution is found

Audi to axe Q8 e-tron? No decision made yet

The decision to restructure the plant was made after an intensive review of the market situation at the site, the company said. Audi also said that it is looking at alternative solutions for the plant but it could cease operations entirely if no solution is found. With talks still ongoing, the company clarified it has yet to make a decision.

Volker Germann, CEO of Audi Brussels, said, “The announcement of the intention does not mean that a decision has been made. Nevertheless, this news has been felt very profoundly by the employees in Brussels and by me too. A transparent and constructive dialogue is important in the process that will follow. We will take all perspectives into account.”

The Audi Brussels facility employs about 3,000 people and produced 50,000 Q8 e-tron range of cars in 2023. The forecast hints that production is expected to dip under 40,000 units in 2024. VW also said that closing the Brussels plant, as well as other unplanned expenses, would have an impact of up to 2.6 billion Euros in FY2024.

Audi Q8 e-tron Brussels Plant
The Audi Brussels plant employs around 3,000 people and produced 50,000 e-tron SUVs in 2023. The forecast has been dipped under 40,000 units for 2024

Audi Q8 e-tron Production

The Audi e-tron range marked a new electric era for the German auto giant when the model first arrived in 2018. It was re-branded as the Q8 e-tron and Q8 e-tron Sportback when the facelift was introduced in 2022. The news could mark the end of both the Q8 e-tron SUV and Q8 e-tron Sportback. It’s unclear at the moment if Audi plans to shift production of the Q8 e-tron range to any of its other sites, which would require significant investments. With low demand for large electric SUVs globally, the additional investments may not yield results for the automaker.

While the Q8 e-tron may be discontinued, the company will continue focusing on its smaller EVs which will continue to be on sale. The Q8 e-tron’s exit would put the limelight on the new Q6 e-tron based on the all-new Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture that will underpin a host of new and upcoming models. It will also go on to underpin future Porsche EVs. The next Q8 e-tron was expected to be underpinned by the PPE architecture as well but it’s unlikely that the model will return in the short term, should it be axed.

Audi Q8 e-tron Sportback
The Audi Q8 e-tron and Q8 e-tron Sportback facelifts were launched in India last year and are priced from 1.15 crore (ex-showroom) onwards

Audi Q8 e-tron in India

The Audi Q8 e-tron facelift was launched in India last year, alongside the more stylish Q8 e-tron Sportback. Both models are priced from 1.15 crore (ex-showroom) onwards and are the flagship SUVs from the manufacturer. The Q8 e-tron takes on the Mercedes-Benz EQE and BMW iX in the segment. The electric SUV arrives in India as a fully built import.

First Published Date: 10 Jul 2024, 20:12 PM IST

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