The stylish SUV will look a lot like the concept.
During Audi's annual press conference, Board of Management member Peter Mertens officially confirmed that the Q8 would be among the automaker's many vehicle debuts in 2018. The big SUV will premiere in Shanghai in June. Mertens referred to the Q8 as "the new face of the Q family."
Gallery: New Audi Q8 Spy Photos
The Q8 will take over the flagship status in Audi's SUV lineup from the Q7. They'll share the same platform, but Audi will give the new model a more stylish appearance and more luxurious cabin. The company previewed the look with a concept in 2017, and spy shots have shown very similar styling coming to the road.
On the outside, the Q8 will feature crisp, chiseled styling. A gargantuan grille gulps air in front, and there are narrow headlights flanking it. A swept back windshield leads to a flowing roof and slightly raked C-pillar. The result is a slightly coupe-like profile without taking the polarizing aesthetic too far. Inside, many parts would come from the new A8, including the large digital screens. Powertrain details are less clear at this point, though.
Later, the Q8 will reportedly get a sporty overhaul with an RS variant that will give the SUV a more aggressive look and a boost in power.
The launch of the Q8 will be just a small part of Audi's very busy 2018. The company will launch a new vehicle roughly every three weeks for a total of over 20 models debuting over the course of the year. Some of these products will include the next-gen A6, E-Tron Quattro electric SUV, and performance-oriented SQ2. Mertens hinted at a new A1 and A3 on the way, too.
Gallery: 2019 Audi Q8 almost undisguised spy photos
Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG
Speech at the Annual Press Conference
– Check against delivery –
Ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to Ingolstadt. I also would like to welcome you most cordially to the Annual Press Conference. We are talking today about new departures. This means that we are breaking with old ways and meeting new challenges.
We are currently doing both of those things at the same time. In 2017, we mastered an extremely challenging year. When we look back, the year featured three major topics. A positive topic for our brand was the start of a host of new models with the new flagship Audi A8* and the Audi A7 Sportback*. Secondly, we took fundamental steps to shape our future growth in China. Negotiations with our joint-venture partner FAW and the dealer network had a negative effect on our sales and earnings in the first half of 2017. Nonetheless, as a result of our joint efforts, we were the number one among the premium manufacturers by the end of the year. And thirdly, we have the ongoing diesel crisis. It is tying up enormous capacities at Audi and entails significant expenses.
At this point, I would like to clearly state that the diesel crisis is not yet over for us. We are working untiringly on a thorough resolution, and continue to liaise with the authorities on the technical issues. The clarification of the legal issues will need more time to resolve. We regret the uncertainty and the annoyance for our customers, for our employees and VW group partners, for the authorities and the public. Rest assured that we have learnt from these occurrences and are now focusing even more on acting with integrity and ensuring a sustainable future.
In this context, we have implemented significant organizational changes at the company. We have established an Integrity, Compliance and Risk Management department. In the Technical Development division, we have brought together the best experts from various business units into the Technical Conformity department. In the Drive System Development department, we have strengthened and institutionalized the multiple-control principle. And we have reorganized our whistleblower system. We have also dealt intensively with our corporate culture and revised our code of conduct – the principles upon which our actions are based. Integrity has top priority: behaving impeccably in both moral and legal terms. With this clear orientation, we want to regain the trust of our customers and the public step by step.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Despite difficult conditions, we achieved robust results in 2017 – proof of the strength of our business. All of our key figures were above the prior-year levels: unit sales, revenue, earnings and operating return on sales.
We will take this momentum into the new financial year and into our markets. In 2018, we have a special anniversary in China. 30 years ago, we were the first premium manufacturer to start local production in our largest single market by far. That was with just one model, the Audi 100. Today, together with FAW, we produce six Audi models in China. In the next five years, we will more than double our portfolio from local production together with our partner FAW. Together, we will significantly expand our product range above all in the area of electrified drive systems and sporty SUVs. Our Chinese customers love the Q family. This is why we will launch ten new SUV variants to the market, of which we will produce seven locally. Four of them will be fully electric. All of that belongs to our comprehensive market initiative in China until 2022.
At the same time, we are also restructuring our business in China for the next growth phase. We have signed a memorandum of understanding in that context last week: We plan to establish two new companies with FAW, both of which are components of our ten-year business plan. One of them is an independent sales company. The other is a joint venture in which we will together develop a digital service offering and new mobility services, tailored to Audi customers in that country. Furthermore, the project for our future cooperation with SAIC is now taking shape in accordance with our planning. We will inform you about the concrete steps to be taken in due course. Also our goal of significantly consolidating our involvement in the Chinese market step by step is making good progress. In this way, we are securing the long-term leading role played by Audi in the world’s biggest premium market. Our two other core regions, North America and Europe, also contributed to Audi’s record unit sales: 1.88 million cars were delivered worldwide. This shows how attractive the product range of the Four Rings is for our customers, and how loyal they are to us in truly difficult times.
And in 2018, we will continue the biggest model initiative in the history of our company. We started it last year. I have already mentioned our flagship: the new Audi A8*. Along with the new Audi A7*, it represents our new design language and pioneering technologies such as the new, fully digital operating concept with touchscreens and tactile feedback. The new Audi A6* completes the trio. Many of you experienced it a few days ago in Geneva. These three models lift the upper range and luxury class from Audi to the next level.
Our customers define the “new premium” also according to how smoothly we connect their mobility experience with the digital world. With the transformation of our business model for a premium digital car company, the myAudi digital ecosystem plays a key role. With digital business, we plan to increase our operating profit by a billion euros in 2025 alone. Part of this amount will be generated by the central customer portal, myAudi: By 2020, it will serve three million active users each month. The planned one billion euros will come from three other sources as well: Connected Retail – because digitalization starts at the dealerships, Connected Car – the fully connected product, and Connected Mobility – innovative mobility services.
In a series of pilot projects, we have learnt a lot. We are now focusing our findings in a comprehensive premium service under the name Audi on demand. The motto here is “renting my dream Audi – whenever I want and for as long as I want.” We will implement Audi on demand in more than 15 markets by 2020. Those hubs are the starting point for a profitable network with which we aim to activate a million mobility customers by 2025. Worldwide, we see a premium-market volume for these services of approximately six billion euros, and we will take our share of that market. Four new Audi on demand locations have been added in recent months: Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore, and Manchester just last weekend. We are gradually expanding Audi on demand in Europe, the United States and Asia. Tokyo is the next city to be included. The new myAudi app serves as a direct interface to the customers. We launched it last year and it is already utilized by approximately 1.3 million users. Via smartphone, they are informed about their Audi at all times, send navigation destinations from the couch or desk to their MMI, and plan a route to the destination, including the part that is walked.
Digitalization with Connected Car also includes our core product, the automobile. The best example for this is the Audi e-tron**. Our first fully electric series-produced model is the first Audi with functions on demand. This means that customers can continually adapt their cars to their individual needs even after delivery. They can book the new functions for example with regard to lights, driver-assistance systems and infotainment – flexibly and conveniently using the myAudi app.
The Audi e-tron** brings us to the strategic pillar of sustainability. It comes from our CO2-neutral plant in Brussels and is equipped with electric motors from our competence center in Győr. Our Hungarian plant will have its 25th anniversary this year. It has produced approximately 33 million combustion engines during that time – a proud achievement! In the next 25 years, our Hungarian employees will certainly produce just as many electric motors. This prototype gives you a preview of the world premiere in Brussels this summer. In some markets, demand for the e-tron** has already started: Lots of customers have already reserved this SUV. We have received 3,700 reservations from Norway alone. The price of the e-tron** has been fixed as of today: It is available in Germany starting at 80,000 euros. The Audi e-tron** stands here as a representative of many more electric cars that we will present to you in the coming years. The Audi e-tron Sportback** will follow in 2019.
We make electric mobility profitable thanks to unique synergies: on the one hand, with the Modular Electric Toolkit that Volkswagen is developing for the compact segment; on the other hand, with our premium-architecture electrification, which we are using for electric vehicles in the mid, upper, and luxury range. Through this cooperation with Porsche, we will reduce development costs by a three-digit million amount. We will explain to you today how we are expanding our Roadmap E to cover all segments. By 2025, we will have approximately 20 electrified models in our product offering across the entire portfolio. More than half of them will be fully electric; the others will be plug-in hybrids. Furthermore, we will equip all core model series at least with mild hybrids. We already offer cars with electrified drive systems in half of our core model series.
You, ladies and gentlemen, will today gain an advance, exclusive and intimate insight into our product planning. I have brought you a design sketch of an electrifying “must-have.” It’s a car that thrills at first glance, a fully electric gran turismo that stands for a new kind of sportiness: the Audi e-tron GT**. This highly emotive spearhead from Audi Sport is to be produced at our Böllinger Höfe plant near Neckarsulm as of 2020. It proves that electric drive can also deliver high performance. I am sure: This very sporty four-door will certainly have many fans and customers. We will lead our high-performance brand Audi Sport into the electric future with models like this.
But back to the current model initiative of the Audi brand. With a total of more than 20 market launches this year, we have new products in six core model series and are upgrading two more core model series. This means an enormous feat of strength for us, in parallel with our challenging conversion to the WLTP test cycle, which the entire industry is now going through. And in parallel, we are working on the conclusion of the diesel crisis. Our goal is clear: We are taking the initiative with many new models. This involves managing a complex phase-out and ramp-up scenario this year; the new models will then develop their full momentum in 2019. In connection with the WLTP changeover, this can have an impact on our deliveries in some European markets this year. So 2018 will be a year of transition and new departures. We rely on the strength of our brand.
The subsidiaries of the Audi Group also provide evidence of this strength time and again. They steadily continue their development and dare to go radical new ways. For example, Lamborghini has presented the Urus*, its first super SUV, which has had a terrific response from the customers. After just one month of taking orders, the entire production of the year 2018 was sold out. Ducati has for the first time launched a series-produced motorcycle with a four-cylinder engine: the Panigale V4. This puts this bike closer than ever before to its counterpart in the MotoGP racing series. And our design company Italdesign has just presented Pop.Up Next** together with Airbus in Geneva; this is the further developed study of its air-transport system.
So you see the overall picture: The Audi Group has a clear plan for the future. We are changing fundamentally. For this change, we have a strong symbol, a technological mission. You can see it here on the stage, the Audi Aicon**: fully electric, fully autonomous and fully connected. It is part of the digital world – more than that: It is ahead of its time. The Aicon** embodies our transformation, even in its name. It is a genuine icon for us already today. This car is more than a vision, more than a show car. That’s why I have news for you today: We are anchoring such a luxurious lounge for long distances into our long-term product planning. With this, we manifest investments, innovations and our attitude. The Aicon** once again emphasizes our leading role with autonomous driving. With this car, we are taking a large step towards the mobility of the future.
We have a solid base also in financial and organizational terms. With our action and transformation plan, we will boost our performance while improving processes and structures at the company. It will accelerate new, profitable business models and fascinating products such as the Audi Aicon**. As a result of this plan, we will realize four additional models and derivatives from existing budgets. All in all, we have four main strategic thrusts with the transformation plan: products, markets, innovations and efficiency. Alexander Seitz will give you the details in a few minutes. At the end of this program in 2022, we will have completed the most comprehensive corporate reorganization in Audi’s recent history. In the next decade, we will be a more agile company that is significantly enriched with new competences and partnerships. We are determined to play a leading role in the radical transformation of our industry.
Our employees are the engine of the transformation. My Board of Management colleagues and I, we are well aware that Audi’s success is based on our strong team. And everyone who contributes to our company’s success will also participate in it. For this reason, Audi’s profit-sharing bonus for a skilled worker at AUDI AG increases this year to 4,770 euros. “Profit” is the keyword for Alexander Seitz. He will now present to you the key figures of AUDI AG and the main elements of the action and transformation plan.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have a well-planned roadmap into the future. We have an exceptional team. About 90,000 Audi people give everything for our brand every day. We, as the management crew, are proud and grateful that we are able to shape the transformation together with this team.
Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG
Finance, IT and Integrity
Speech at the Annual Press Conference
– Check against delivery –
Ladies and gentlemen,
When I started at Audi in September 2017, I could literally feel that something was really changing here.
In China, Audi had reorganized its business after intensive negotiations with its local partners. At the Audi Summit and at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Four Rings demonstrated their Vorsprung with fantastic new products and pioneering concept cars such as the Audi Aicon**. And with Strategy 2025, Audi is systematically adapting for a digital, electric and autonomous future with ambitious goals. A future in which financial competitiveness plays a key role due to the enormous investments that will be required; because the challenges have been and will continue to be significant.
We have made decisive progress with the technical solution and the financial impact of the diesel crisis. But it has been, and still is, a feat of strength for Audi. We are also faced with challenging emission standards and type-approval processes. In addition, our product initiative is about to peak.
A crucial point is that despite these challenges, Audi developed robustly: We slightly increased our deliveries of the Audi brand compared with the previous year and set a new record for unit sales. In terms of revenue, with growth of 1.4 percent, we achieved more than 60 billion euros for the first time. We increased our operating profit before special items to 5.1 billion euros, which is an increase of 4.4 percent.
Let me first give you an insight into the sales performance of the Audi brand: In 2017, we delivered 1.9 million cars of the Audi brand to our customers. We slightly increased our sales volume even in China, although our deliveries were affected by the intensive negotiations with our local partners at the beginning of the year. We accelerated again in the second half of the year, with an increase of 14 percent from July through December and a new record in each of those six months. As a result, we delivered nearly 600,000 cars and successfully defended our market leadership in the Chinese premium market.
With a slight increase of 0.5 percent, we sold more cars than in the previous year in Western Europe as well. We handed over more than 800,000 cars of the Audi brand to our customers in this region. And that was despite Brexit in the United Kingdom and despite challenges related to the model cycles. Growth in deliveries was especially strong in Spain and Italy: We increased our prior-year volume by 8 percent in Spain and by more than 10 percent in Italy. You see: The sporty Mediterranean people do love us.
We are particularly proud of our 7.8 percent growth in the United States. With nearly 230,000 units sold, we set another sales record – for the seventh consecutive year. The Audi brand defied the contracting overall market and was the only major OEM with growth in the US premium segment – and with significant growth. We are the favorite among young customers who decide in favor of a premium car for the first time. We achieved more than half of our US volume in the SUV trend segment. And now a brief look at developments in the other countries of the world: While deliveries of the Audi brand developed positively in some markets – with an increase of 18 percent in Canada for example – we see lower volumes especially in markets with special situations. Our total deliveries in the rest of the world were 6 percent lower than in the previous year.
Our SUV models performed very well in 2017. We achieved an increase of 11 percent across all our Q model series in 2017. The Q7* kept making good progress last year with sales of 106,000 units. The new Q5* has been selling well since the middle of last year; we delivered more than 280,000 Audi Q5* automobiles worldwide in 2017. Even shortly before the model change, the Audi Q3* remains a global bestseller with nearly 210,000 units sold. And nearly 95,000 Audi customers decided in favor of our latest addition to the Audi Q family – the Q2* – in its first year. The Q2* will be launched in China this year. We have attracted new young urban customers with the young urban Audi Q2*.
For the first time in 2017, we passed the revenue mark of 60 billion euros. That’s twice as much as eight years ago and demonstrates our continuous growth. And we achieved that although the challenges have seldom been as tough as last year: for example with the general conditions in Asia-Pacific, the weaker British pound, and the negative product-mix effects due to model cycles. In addition to the Audi Q2*, we profited also from the A5* and from the strong business in North America. The good other automotive business helped as well, such as the supply of parts for local production in China and our engine business.
We increased our operating profit before special items to 5.1 billion euros, which is a good 200 million euros above the prior-year figure. We improved our operating return on sales to 8.4 percent. Unlike our competitors, we present the results of operations of our Chinese joint venture under financial result. If those earnings were included, the operating margin would actually be one percentage point higher.
Overall, we over compensated for negative earnings effects thanks to attractive products, a strong brand and consistent cost discipline. With our SPEED UP! program, which has now been completed, we achieved valuable optimizations in various parts of the company. In the full year, we reduced our distribution costs by nearly 9 percent compared with 2016, for example by consistently prioritizing our advertising expenses. On the income side, we were able to maintain our pricing. This makes it clear that we did not “buy” market share. We improved our product costs despite a headwind from the raw-materials market – due in part to a strong procurement performance. As an ex-purchaser, I of course find that especially pleasing. Forward-looking currency hedging and the good original spare-parts business also contributed to the positive development of earnings.
On the other hand, we had higher fixed costs and depreciation in the context of making our production network more flexible and of our model initiative, as well as product-mix effects and expenses from CO2-related activities. An important aspect is that due to updated measurement premises, we increased the risk-related items in our balance sheet for the diesel issue in North America by 387 million euros at year-end. These special items include expenses and provisions for technical measures and legal risks in North America. Including the special items, our operating profit amounted to 4.7 billion euros, equivalent to a margin of 7.8 percent.
The development of earnings shows that the Audi Group followed a stable development in a challenging environment once again in 2017. The net cash flow of the Audi Group of 4.3 billion euros was significantly higher than in 2016. This reflects two one-time effects: On the one hand, there were outflows of approximately 1.5 billion euros in connection with the diesel issue. On the other hand, there was the sale of a participation: The 30-percent minority interest in Volkswagen Group Services, which does not belong to our core business, has been transferred completely to Volkswagen. The amount of 3.3 billion euros received in this transaction is reflected by our high net cash flow. But even without this one-time effect, the net cash flow is significantly positive, and allowed us to compensate for the diesel-related expenses. What matters is that Audi remains financially strong and funded all investments out of its own cash flow in 2017.
That is also a sound foundation for the current financial year, because 2018 is no less challenging. A new product will be launched on average every three weeks – including the Audi A6*, the all-new Q8** and our electric SUV, the Audi e-tron**. More than 20 new models – but that also means that older models are being phased out and the plants have to be modified for new products. The resulting restructuring of our production network will improve synergies within the Audi Group, but will at first entail expenses in 2018. There will be additional expenses from new type-approval requirements affecting the entire industry, such as the changeover to the WLTP test cycle – as Rupert Stadler has mentioned. Furthermore, the growth outlook for the overall market is rather moderate and we anticipate more headwinds from exchange-rate developments. These factors may cause significant fluctuations in our key figures during the year.
So 2018 will be another testing year, but we will master it with car deliveries at least at the prior-year level. Due to an improved model mix, we actually expect to achieve a slight increase in revenue. Also in this exceptional year with many product launches, we continue to target an operating return on sales within our target corridor of between 8 and 10 percent. And our financing power also remains strong: With a high level of upfront expenditure, we anticipate a net cash flow of between 2.7 and 3.2 billion euros.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Despite all the tension and challenges, Audi is on the right track for the future. Our new Board of Management team has prepared a plan to profitably implement the digital, electric and autonomous transformation and to finance new strategic topics for the future. With our action and transformation plan, we will first align our Audi organization for the future. And secondly, we will protect our margin-targets in a challenging competitive environment. Because for me as CFO, this is clear: 8 to 10 percent operating return on sales continues to be our goal – also tomorrow and the day after.
As Rupert Stadler has already mentioned – our specific aim is to release a total of ten billion euros in the next five years with the action and transformation plan. This will give us scope for our high upfront expenditure for the future of more than 40 billion euros by 2022. A large proportion of the upfront expenditure will flow directly into electric mobility, into autonomous driving and into digitalization. Releasing ten billion euros is an ambitious goal and we will achieve it like this: We utilize synergies within Audi and the Volkswagen Group even better. We make processes leaner. And we remove unnecessary diversity and complexity from areas not relevant to our customers. We will channel the released resources into first-class innovations that make a real difference for the customers. In this way, we improve our cost ratios while generating additional revenue sources.
One example of that: We have found out that our A3* customers very seldom order one third of the available engine-transmission combinations. With the next A3* model change, we will reduce the number of variants on offer in line with our customers’ wishes. This will give our engineers scope for top-level innovations and new products with real added value for our customers. One example is an additional model series alongside the A3* with particular appeal for younger customers – that’s a target group that we will increasingly attract to the Four Rings.
By 2022, we will launch ten new electrified models solely in the Chinese market, which, as is well known, is the major market for electric cars of the future. With the action and transformation plan, we also accelerate at the company and in the team: We manage our resources in line with demand and separate our innovation cycles from vehicle cycles. We break down divisional boundaries by means of interdisciplinary cooperation. And we also intensify our external partnerships, especially for new technologies and the topics of the future. In order to take the Audi workforce with us on this journey into the future, we will increase the budget for further training by one-third – to more than half a billion euros – by 2025.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The coming years pose an unprecedented challenge for the entire automotive industry. With the action and transformation plan, we are giving Audi a future orientation and thus laying the foundation for our Vorsprung of tomorrow. This will enable us to maintain our leading position in the premium segment, with a renewed focus on the customer, a strong profit margin and first-class innovations. One example showing how we are increasingly acting unconventionally is our speedboat for autonomous driving. Please see for yourselves.
Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG
Speech at the Annual Press Conference
– Check against delivery –
Technological Vorsprung is the core of our brand. It is our promise. We are pioneers for key technologies and continually adapt to new external conditions. Change creates work. At the same time, it keeps us fit for the future.
I will now talk about how we are transforming Audi while utilizing impulses and innovations from global megatrends: from the areas of sustainability, urbanization and digitalization. Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH is working on the urban mobility of tomorrow, as you have just seen in the film. By 2021 – that’s the goal – it will be our speedboat to put a series-mature software module for autonomous driving on the market. This module will be used in so-called robo-taxis as well as in private cars driving fully autonomously, without a steering wheel or pedals. Top experts from 15 nations are working on this project with their entire know-how and a strong network. They come from the fields of robotics, machine learning, software development and the automotive industry. Recruitment is now taking place and approximately 600 employees will work in this area in the medium term. Autonomous Intelligent Driving is now testing the technology on the roads. Starting in September, three autonomous vehicles with electric drive will operate as shuttles for vehicle logistics at the Neckarsulm plant. Each vehicle movement will deliver valuable data.
Where do we want to get to with fully autonomous driving – the so-called level 5 – with the Audi brand? Car sharing is offered by many players. As a provider of premium mobility, we see it as our job to create premium experiences in this culture of sharing: for everyone – also for people who cannot or don’t want to buy a premium car. Our offering will be focused on quick availability and high levels of customer satisfaction. The scenario is that, with the help of sophisticated algorithms, an Audi will get to where our customer needs it within minutes: a feeling of luxury – even if only for 15 minutes. Feel at home immediately and arrive relaxed. This is our philosophy of autonomous and premium ride hailing.
The mobility logic of tomorrow is being developed by another start-up, Audi Business Innovation GmbH in Munich. That’s where we are making progress on new services and digital solutions. Audi Business Innovation works in interdisciplinary teams – among other things, on projects of the myAudi digital ecosystem: for example with Audi on demand. We started the service in San Francisco in 2015. 90 percent of the customers there said that we surpass their expectations with our concierge service. Some of you will have an exclusive look at the work of Audi Business Innovation this afternoon. We are now bringing the spirit, the agility and the speed of such startups and think tanks to AUDI AG.
An example of this transformation can be seen in our Technical Development division. The reorganization there affects nearly 10,000 employees. Our vision is to make Audi’s Technical Development into the most innovative and productive department of its kind in our industry. Innovative – that means for example that we are strictly focusing on clearly defined areas for the future. At Audi, vehicle concepts will always be use-case based, tailored to target groups and their preferences. The entire development focuses on user experience. Drivers should take pleasure from operating their cars intuitively. Productive – this means, among other things, that we will develop up to 30 percent more efficiently. For example, we will reduce the number of physical test rigs by more than a half – with virtual development at Audi Systems Engineering.
In October 2017, we inaugurated the new Audi Design Center. A virtual-design process is the order of the day there – with working routines running in parallel instead of sequentially – in creative co-working spaces. In addition, we are creating new professions such as cloud architect, data analyst and deep learning specialist. We are developing new expertise by means of internal training courses. Last year, for example, we more than doubled the number of electrical development specialists – this is also a result of further training for our employees. We trained 9,000 employees worldwide in high-voltage technology in 2017 alone. We are training the employees at the e-tron plant in Brussels in virtual reality courses, among other subjects. Alexander Seitz mentioned half a billion euros for further training by 2025 – this also is part of our reinvestment from the action and transformation plan. Because every individual employee is important – along our path of transformation.
The transformation is not an end in itself. It enables us to develop attractive services and products that satisfy our customers’ needs. That brings me to our model initiative – or Audi’s model fireworks! The progressive Audi A7 Sportback* (which was launched two weeks ago), the purist R8 V10 Rear Wheel Series**, and the A6*, the bestselling upper-range model from Audi, will soon be joined by the Audi A8 as a plug-in hybrid**, the prestigious Audi A8 W12**, and the Audi A1**, which will attract younger customers also in its next generation.
And that’s not all: We are really mixing up the SUV segment. This year and next, we will launch eleven new derivatives or completely new Q models, such as the new face of the Q family, the Audi Q8**, which we will present in Shanghai in June – most of you saw that car yesterday – or the new Audi Q3*. This car is already one of our growth drivers especially in China and on the American continent. It will be followed by the highly emotive Audi SQ2**. The base model Audi Q2* has just achieved sales growth of more than 20 percent in the United Kingdom this February. And exclusively for our customers in China, the urban Audi Q2** and the versatile Audi Q5** will both be launched as long-wheelbase versions. Audi is already the Q brand. No premium competitor sells a higher proportion of SUVs. And we are expanding further in this segment. By 2025, every other Audi delivered to a customer will be an SUV. Without revealing too many details: The first five electric cars from our brand will include two sports utility vehicles and two sports activity vehicles.
We have big plans: This year, we will renew the entire upper and luxury range of our portfolio. We aim to increase our sales in this segment by 50 percent by 2020. And we are electrifying our models – one after the other: After the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron*, the Audi Q7 e-tron quattro* was launched two years ago as a plug-in hybrid. We are now introducing plug-in hybrid models in the entire upper range and luxury class.
We have just shown you the Audi e-tron**. From a technical point of view, we should explain that we will offer customer-friendly high-power charging for this model right from the start, at up to 150 kilowatts of charging power. The Audi e-tron** will be ready for the next long journey again in about 30 minutes. You will see a rapid succession of model launches, about 20 electrified models across all segments.
Our drive-system strategy also includes an initial small series with fuel cells, which we will put on the road in 2020. Because hydrogen is another perfect energy source for the electric mobility of tomorrow. Furthermore, we are researching into other synthetic fuels that can be used in existing engines to conserve resources and protect the climate. A prominent example is our A3*/A4*/A5* g-tron fleet running on Audi e-gas.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Why are we changing our entire organization and our mindset so fundamentally? We are doing it for our customers. Sustainability is far more than complying with environmental laws. It is required by society, and we have a proactive approach. I am convinced that the customers of tomorrow will make their purchasing decisions dependent also on how credibly and sustainably a brand acts. That’s why we are working so hard: on the design of interiors and exteriors, on comfort and quality, on all of our future electric cars, and on our way to autonomous driving.