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All-Electric Audi Q8 e-tron SUV Has One Foot In The Grave

Key Takeaways

  • Audi may end Q8 e-tron SUV due to global decline in electric luxury class orders.
  • Production challenges and high logistics costs in Brussels plant raise concerns.
  • Audi evaluating plant restructuring, but jobs may be lost.

In a rather somber announcement, Audi has revealed that it is seriously considering bringing an end to the Q8 e-tron SUV and its coupe-style Sportback sibling. The reason? Just like other automakers, “Audi is witnessing a global decline in customer orders in the electric luxury class.” This follows similar news from the likes of General Motors and Mercedes, the latter of which recently committed millions of dollars to further ICE powertrain development. The Q8 e-tron was the automaker’s first foray down the electric avenue and was launched in 2018. Since then, it has been relatively successful, but as Audi has worked to introduce new EVs on the Premium Platform Electric architecture, “the company is now seeing a drop in demand for the Q8 e-tron,” resulting in “a sharp drop in incoming orders.”

Q8 e-tron Retirement Likely But Difficult To Achieve

The Q8 e-tron and Q8 Sportback e-tron are both manufactured in Belgium, at Audi’s Brussels plant. This production facility has challenges of its own, with Audi noting that it would be difficult to repurpose the plant for another model line due to the fact that it’s located near the city center, making alteration’s to the plant layout tricky. Moreover, Audi cites high logistics costs as another factor that could spell the end for the Q8 e-tron range.

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These factors mean that producing any car in Brussels is more costly than at other sites, calling into question whether it’s viable to continue operating the production facility at all. Audi is working with the local government and other partners to determine whether it is possible to restructure the plant in a cost-effective manner, but if no solution is found, the entire workforce could be looking for new employment.

“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 dialog is important in the process that will follow. We will take all perspectives into account.”

– Volker Germann, CEO of Audi Brussels

Audi Brussels Production PlantOther Volkswagen Group Stablemates Feel The Pressure

Audi is not alone in the struggle to maintain demand for electric vehicles. According to recent reports from Germany, Porsche has slowed production of the Taycan due to waning demand, and this is especially interesting since the Stuttgart-based brand has recently confirmed that its most attainable gas models will be culled soon. Relying exclusively on EV models remains risky, but at least Audi still has the combustion-powered Q8 and RS Q8 to rely on. Still, with development of the Q8 e-tron replacement already apparently underway, Audi must be agonizing over whether to pull the plug or not. We also can’t help but wonder what this means for the long-anticipated Q9, but it’s looking more and more likely that this will be delayed or become a stillborn project.


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