In a world where economy is king, gas mileage rules and fuel prices reach into the sky…
Two carmakers attempt to defy the odds and build luxury road-going barges to transport up to 9 humans on journeys throughout this vast land.
Can they appeal to the correct target? Will they sell well enough to justify their existence?
Most of all, can they compete with the existing ships of the road and establish a name for themselves?
There’s no question Audi and Lexus have already built reputations and proven they can build a popular SUV. Lexus doesn’t currently offer a crossover that can haul more than 5 people, while Audi has an SUV we know can comfortably haul 7 people.
Both companies see an opportunity to expand their product lines and the size of their vehicles.
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler confirmed that Audi is considering a flagship Q9 SUV. He said,
We want to expand the SUV side of the business…. By 2020, our Q-models will account for over 45 percent of sales.
If produced, the vehicle would likely be offered with an e-tron plug-in hybrid drivetrain. That means it’ll probably cost somewhere in the neighborhood of a billion dollars, but it’ll be fuel-efficient, and we know it’ll look great!
Lexus knows it’s missing the boat by not having a crossover vehicle that can transport at least 6 people. Currently, if you want a Lexus for 7, you have to opt for the GX or LX, but those are big, inefficient body-on-frame SUVs that have quickly lost favor in the eyes of consumers.
Jeff Bracken, head of the Lexus division said,
Third-row seating is the No. 1 issue we hear from dealers…. We feel like we’re missing a 35,000-units-a-year opportunity. We’re working hard to rectify that.
Whether that means a new RX will have 3 rows of seats or if some new model will fill that hole, expect a 7-passenger Lexus crossover within the next 4 years.
In the meantime, if you need a vehicle to move 6 people or more, hit CarGurus’ used listings and have fun searching!
Would you be interested in a plug-in electric hybrid SUV that hauls 9 people?