By William Boston
Dan Neil/The Wall Street Journal
NEW YORK — Audi AG plans to produce a second model in North America after it launches production of its Q5 sport-utility vehicle in Mexico next year, part of the German premium car maker’s effort to overtake BMW AG as the world’s biggest premium car brand, Audi top executives say.
The Ingolstadt, Germany–based maker of luxury sedans and sport-utility vehicles /zigman2/quotes/207972355/delayed DE:NSU +0.63% is building a plant in Mexico to produce its popular Q5 sport-utility vehicle for sale in the U.S. and export to Europe and other global markets. The Q5 is expected to be available in 2016.
“Mexico is the first big step, but probably will not be the last one,” Audi Chief Executive Rupert Stadler told the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview. “We see that the Audi brand here in the U.S. developed in a really good way. Why shouldn’t we sell one day 300,000 units, as competitors do?”
Audi is expected to release details of its 2014 earnings and outlook for the current year at a news conference in Ingoldstadt on Tuesday.
The big three German premium car brands — Audi’s parent Volkswagen AG /zigman2/quotes/206736865/delayed DE:VOW +0.41% , BMW /zigman2/quotes/209548467/delayed DE:BMW -0.38% and Daimler AG /zigman2/quotes/205332368/delayed DE:DAI +0.32% , which owns Mercedes-Benz — claim to hold as much as 80% of the world market for premium cars and are in a tight race for the global leadership of the segment. BMW maintained its lead in 2014, selling 1.81 million BMW brand cars. Audi ran a close second, posting sales of 1.74 million cars, while the Mercedes-Benz brand sold 1.65 million cars.