Several people familiar with the matter told Handelsblatt that Audi would launch several important models later than planned. That applies first and foremost to the Q6 e-tron, which, according to the latest plans, will launch in summer 2024 – around two years later than initially planned. Automobilwoche recently reported that the presentation of the Q6 e-tron had been postponed to March 2024.
The start of production of the Q6 e-tron will also affect all subsequent models. The carmaker will thus postpone the entire model offensive by months, according to Handelsblatt. That also concerns the A6 e-tron, which was planned for early 2024 but will not be unveiled until May. German premium competitors Mercedes and BMW already launched their corresponding EQE and i5 electric saloons.
It has long been clear that the Q6 e-tron, built in Ingolstadt, will be the first Audi based on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE), developed jointly with Porsche. So, logically, the other PPE models, such as the A6 e-tron, will also be delayed. However, according to the report, the new planning will also be “part of the revision” initiated by the new Audi CEO Gernot Döllner. Döllner, a confidant of VW and Porsche boss Oliver Blume, took over from Markus Duesmann as head of Ingolstadt on 1 September.
In this revision, Döllner allegedly pushes for “quick changes.” “The former Porsche manager has a confrontational style, insiders say. Some of the managers felt snubbed by his behaviour,” writes the Handelsblatt newspaper about the internal talks. He is “very demanding” towards his managers.
Volkswagen’s former head of strategy, Döllner, who has never before held a board position in the automotive industry, faces the major challenge of finally bringing the models announced under Duesmann to market and delivering the results expected in Wolfsburg. However, he must not overload the plants or sales organisation with too many model launches and premieres in too short a time. At the same time, Döllner and his Chief Development Officer Oliver Hoffmann must get to grips with the problems in the development department that have contributed to the delays.
However, the revision does not end with the abovementioned Q6 e-tron and A6 e-tron series. There are “intensive discussions” about the successor to the Q8. In line with the initial plans, the Q8 e-tron, based on Audi’s new electric platform PPE, would launch in 2026 – as we also reported in 2021. Now, there are new plans for the Q8 – because there were problems in development, which probably concerned the software and mechatronic components. As a result, the project in this form was allegedly cancelled prematurely. The new plan: Audi now wants to design the vehicle so that it can also serve as the basis for an SUV from VW, which will be the successor to the Atlas, only sold in the USA and China.
handelsblatt.com (in German)