It hasn't been long since the Italian invasion of the Fiat has breached American shores and displayed the fact that Americans are truly in love with anything that appears miniature. The success of the revamped Fiat 500, along with the continued high volume sales of the Mini Cooper Countryman and surprising success of the Buick Encore, has inspired Audi to launch its own line of micro-SUVs in order to surpass BMW as the world's number 1 luxury car brand.
The Audi Q1 will be built around the Modular Transverse Matrix platform, the same platform which is used to construct the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Golf (VW being Audi's parent-company). By using the MTM platform, Audi will be able to produce the Q1 at its largest plant, Ingolstadt, in Germany. Peter Mosch, Chairman of the General Works Council, believes that “This is a clear commitment to Ingolstadt as a production site. We will continue to make all efforts to develop the plant even further as the leading technological site of the Audi Group.”
Being able to continue production at its home site and abroad is a luxury that Audi has been able to afford while other automakers haven't. The internationalization of Audi, unlike companies such as Ford, GM, and Chrysler, has not led to it having to abandon production in Germany where the costs of supplies and labor are higher.
As it currently stands, Audi has yet to release information concerning specific details about the Q1's engine or features. Some are assuming that the engine will reflect the super-compact size of the car, with Audi potentially offering a 1.4 L gasoline engine, following by a 1.6 L diesel TDI engine, while others are postulating that the engine will be more similar to the engine found in the A3 - a 2.0 L turbo-charged engine.
The decision for Audi was an easy one. The Q-series of vehicles has been one of Audi's most successful brands, selling 1.5 million vehicles since the line's induction in 2006. This year alone, SUVs accounted for 28% of Audi's market-share, a number which is expected to balloon to 35% by the year 2020. Audi hopes that the introduction of the compact Q1 to compete directly with BMW's Mini Cooper, along with bumping their total number of models offered from 49 to 60, will boost their sales enough to make them the number 1 luxury car brand in the world. We'll check back in on that progress in 2020. Stay tuned.[Image via Audi]