Audi may kill one of its SUVs as EV demand cools

The Audi Q8 e-tron could be the one of the first electric vehicles (EVs) to be axed due to cooling demand, with the German carmaker announcing low sales have led it to consider ending production early.

In a media statement, Audi detailed its plans to close the Brussels factory where the Q8 e-tron has been built since it became the company’s first mass-market EV in 2019 under the simpler e-tron nameplate.

“Audi is witnessing a global decline in customer orders in the electric luxury class segment,” the German marque said. 

“This affects the Q8 e-tron and Q8 Sportback e-tron models, which roll off the production line in Brussels.

“Following an intensive review of the market situation and the general conditions at the Brussels site, Audi is considering the early end of production of the Q8 e-tron model series.”

Earlier this year, Automotive News Europe reported Audi was considering moving overflow production of the Q4 e-tron to the Belgian plant, however weak EV demand means this will no longer be necessary.

Though Audi intends to close the Brussels factory, it must receive approval from Belgian lawmakers to do so after coming up with a plan to terminate the staff at the facility.  

While reduced demand for EVs in the segment has been listed as one of the main factors for the Q8 e-tron’s potential early demise, additional reasons include difficulties expanding the factory due to its location; logistics costs; and the impending roll-out of models underpinned by the Premium Platform Electric architecture. 

This includes the Audi A6 e-tron and Q6 e-tron, which will follow the Porsche Macan EV as the first models built on the new platform.

However, it may not be the complete end of the road for the Q8 e-tron, as Automotive News Europe also reported earlier this year the brand’s CEO Gernot Döllner had proposed a production overhaul which would see the electric SUV be built in Puebla, Mexico alongside the Q5.

No more information on this plan has subsequently been reported.

Throughout 2023, Audi sold approximately 49,000 Q8 e-trons globally, accounting for more than a quarter of its overall EV sales.

Just 200 of these were delivered in Australia, which represented a 55 per cent increase on 2022 when the electric SUV still went by its original e-tron moniker.

Australian sales were also up in the first half of 2024 to 112 examples, or a 51.4 per cent improvement on the same period a year ago.

Audi Australia only recently added a new, less-expensive variant to the local Q8 e-tron lineup in June, bringing the range to four options including the performance SQ8 e-tron grades.

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