Audi mulls early end for Q8 e-tron

A sectoral drop in demand has also put Audi's Brussels plant in play

Audi mulls early end for Q8 e-tron
The Brussels plant is hampered by its city centre location

VW Group premium brand Audi is considering ending production of its Q8 e-tron model family of electric luxury class segment vehicles earlier than expected, citing a “segment-specific intensified drop in demand”. As a result, it is also consulting on the future of its Brussels plant, where the Q8 e-tron and Q8 Sportback e-tron are made.

The Q8 e-tron “marked the start of electric mobility for Audi in 2018, and it ran very successfully worldwide for many years”, the firm says. But with new models built on VW’s next-generation Premium Platform Electric architecture being rolled out, the company is “now seeing a drop in demand for the Q8 e-tron”, resulting “in a sharp drop in incoming orders”.

In its home German market, sales of Q8 BEVs in the first half of 2024 have dropped to c.3,250, compared to over 5,000 in the same period last year and 5,500+ in H1`22 (see Fig.1). Q8 sales thus far in 2024 are comparable to those seen as far back as 2020.

Fig.1: German Q8 sales have fallen back to 2020 levels in the first half of this year

And the potential premature end of Q8 e-tron production has left a significant question mark over the future of its Brussels production base, owing to “long-standing structural challenges” there. “The plant layout is difficult to change due to the production facility's particular location close to the city centre. There are also high logistics costs. Overall, this leads to high production costs in Brussels compared to other sites,” Audi warns.

As such, the plant’s management board has informed the company council of its intention to carry out a restructuring of the site, kicking off an information and consultation process in accordance with Belgian law. A cessation of operations, if no viable alternative use for the facility is found, is among the potential outcomes of the process.

"The announcement of the intention does not mean that a decision has been made. We will take all perspectives into account," says Volker Germann, CEO of Audi Brussels.
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“The employee representatives of Audi are calling for long-term prospects for the plant and our colleagues in Brussels. Audi management must take responsibility for the site. We hope that a viable and sustainable solution will be reached in the course of the consultation process that has now been initiated,” says Rita Beck, spokesperson for the Audi committee in the European VW Group Works Council.

“The decision to start the information and consultation process at the Brussels site was made after an intensive review and is supported by Audo. The task now is to shape this process constructively and transparently together with all those involved and to discuss viable solutions in the interests of all,” says Gerd Walker, Audi management board member for production and logistics.

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