Audi Could Kill Its Biggest EV Because Nobody’s Buying It

The Q8 E-Tron could meet an early grave due to lack of demand
Audi SQ8 E-Tron
Audi SQ8 E-Tron

Usually, when we get wind that a car company is considering killing off a model due to slow sales, the source is some vague, unnamed ‘industry insider’. It tends not to come straight from an official manufacturer press release, but that’s exactly what’s just happened with the Audi Q8 E-Tron.

The company has confirmed it’s debating an early end of production for its largest electric car as a result of “a global decline in customer orders in the electric luxury class segment” – i.e., not enough people are buying it.

Audi Q8 Sportback E-Tron
Audi Q8 Sportback E-Tron

Audi’s chosen to go public with this because if the car is killed off, it’ll impact the plant in the Belgian capital of Brussels where it’s built. The company is looking into ways it can restructure the plant, and Belgian law requires a statement of intent to begin this process.

The Q8 E-Tron was launched in 2018 as Audi’s first mass-produced EV, and it’s still the largest one the company builds. Back then, it was just called the E-Tron. In 2020, a sloping-roofed Sportback version was launched, and a 2022 facelift saw it gain the Q8 designation to bring its name in line with Audi’s other electric SUVs.

Audi Q8 E-Tron - interior
Audi Q8 E-Tron - interior

It’s one of those other cars that Audi partially cites for the drop in demand for the Q8 E-Tron, which is based on an adapted version of VW’s MLB platform, originally designed for combustion cars. It says that a ramp-up in production of the Premium Platform Electric, which underpins the new, smaller Q6 E-Tron as well as the new Porsche Macan, has contributed to a reduction in overall Q8 demand.

A general slowing of private EV sales may also be contributing, as it has to the decisions of a number of manufacturers reconsidering their original hard deadlines for a fully electric transition.

Audi SQ8 Sportback E-Tron
Audi SQ8 Sportback E-Tron

Volker Germann, CEO of the Audi Brussels plant, emphasises that “The announcement of the intention does not mean that a decision has been made,” and Audi spokesperson Rita Beck said the company hopes to find “a viable and sustainable solution” for the factory if the Q8 is given the axe.

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