If you thought it hard for Audi to develop even more niches models, think again: Audi’s development chief Dr Hackenberg told Motoring Research at the Paris Motor Show 2014 of his plan to extend the current 50-model range to 60 variants.
You have to think laterally to get your head around this, because it’s all about filling niches. Niches you’ve never dreamt of. Like the four-door Audi TT revealed in Paris. Or a Q7 saloon, or a long wheelbase A1. Actually I’ve made the last two up because I am as puzzled as anyone as to where Audi might go. And Dr Hackenberg isn’t letting on quite yet.
But what does seem clear is that one of the Audi TT concepts we already seen – the Paris four-door and the Beijing off-road concept from earlier in 2014 – is likely to be a forerunner.
Which one? The story at Paris is that, already, there has been much interest in the longer model with four-doors. It’s still very much a TT, looks perfectly balanced and offers genuine four-seat possibilities rather than the nominal perches you get in the back of the latest two-door coupe.
Yet Audi seems a little torn, because sales of SUVs continue to rise and that looks to be the route to making more money. A pity, because a crossover derived from the Audi TT seems like a niche to far to me. It will, almost inevitably, look faintly daft.
How long until we see the first fruits of all this niche filling? With the simple brilliance of the VW Group’s MQB platform it can all happen pretty quickly, say a couple of years from pressing the GO button. And who know, that button may well have already been pressed for another model we’ve yet to hear about.