By Gary S. Vasilash
2018 saw the launch of the Audi e-tron, the German’s first production EV. Even then knowing where the interest was developing (things like the Tesla Model S notwithstanding), the folks in Ingolstadt determined that an SUV was the body style to launch.
Since then, Audi has sold about 150,000 of the vehicles.
Maybe they figured that what the heck an “e-tron” was was something that kept it from gaining significantly more traction in the market.
So for the new model the name has been changed to “Q8 e-tron.”
The company had some equity in the Q8 name for its SUV. So it has appended it to the electric variants (there is also the Q8 Sportback e-tron).
Audi puts it: “By renaming this model the Q8, Audi is making a clear statement that the Audi Q8 e-tron is the flagship model among its electric SUVs and Coupe SUVs.”
Perhaps that will resolve what is arguably an identity crisis in the market.
However, the company goes on to maintain, “The Audi Q8 e-tron and Q8 Sportback e-tron are immediately identifiable as fully electric models, marked out by the new front and rear designs that carry Audi’s electric design language forward.”
There it may be a bit misled. The whole “immediately identifiable as fully electric models” is more than a slight exaggeration.
It was probably that sort of thinking that led Audi marketers to think back in 2018 that prospective customers would immediately know that the e-tron was an electric Q8 by another name.
Seems that that didn’t work out particularly well sales-wise.