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Audi plans rival to BMW X6, design chief says

Thu, 08 Dec 2011

Audi will launch a rival to the BMW X6 and may add a challenger to the Bavarian automaker's X4, a top Volkswagen executive told Automotive News Europe.

Walter de' Silva, design boss at Audi parent Volkswagen Group, confirmed that Audi has signed off on plans for the X6 rival. He declined to say when the car would arrive.

Dubbed by media as the Q6, the sporty, low-roof crossover will fit between Audi's Q7 and Q5 and try to win sales from BMW's niche-busting X6.

"We will definitely launch a sportier crossover in between the Q7 and Q5," de' Silva said on the sidelines of the auto show here.

Audi aims pass BMW to be the top-selling premium brand by 2015.

BMW added the X6, which is based on the X5 SUV, to its lineup in 2008. The X6 has helped BMW expand sales in the premium SUV segment, which is a small, high-margin niche.

De' Silva also said that Audi is still deciding whether to add a smaller SUV, likely named the Q4, to fit between the Q5 and Q3. The new model would be a competitor against the X4, a model that BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer has confirmed will be launched. Sources say BMW will start sales of the X4 in 2014.

By Luca Ciferri- Automotive News