Pictured above is a rendering of an RS version of the Q3. Hot or not? Definitely hot; if maybe a but pointless. The Q3 was born to compete against the BMW X1, a very successful model brought forth by BMW's segment-bending exploits. In Europe the X1 has proved to be a big hit for its crossover-like looks, small size and practicality. Audi rushed to provide an answer with its Q3 crossover, and it has gone on sale in markets around the world.
Audi seemingly ruled out sales of the Q3 in the U.S at launch. BMW, on the other hand, has announced the X1 will be sold here. Despite being on sale since November 2009 in Europe, a U.S launch date has been pushed back until late next year due to high demand.
When it does arrive eventually, BMW expects sales to be small due its (presumably) limited appeal. With the economy not faring so well and gas prices at high levels, could the calculus be changed? Audi is reportedly reconsidering its position on the Q3, says AutoWeek.
Audi AG board member Peter Schwarzenbauer doesn't need any convincing: "I think the U.S. is ready for a car below the Q5." Audi of America president Johan de Nysschen said it is still being debated though: "We have to look at the economic feasibility, and it has to hit targets. We have to overcome certain challenges." If it does come, it will be in three years when the receives a mid-cyle enhancement. The challenge is pricing; customers will find it pointless if it is priced closely to the Q5, but if you go too low Audi is unable to make a profit. Its an interesting conundrum that could depend on how BMW fares with the X1 in the U.S next year.