EARLIER this year, Audi launched the all-new Q5 into the booming SUV market having debuted the car in 2016 at the Paris Motor Show.
It’s an updated, evolved version of the company’s best-selling SUV – and who could blame Audi for tinkering with a winning formula?
But the all-new Audi Q5 is 90kg lighter than the previous model, has greater luggage room, more interior space, newly developed five-link suspension and optional adaptive air suspension for improved ride quality along with fuel-saving engine ultra technology.
So how does this add up for leasing companies? What can leasecos expect from the new Q5 SUV?
We spoke to Martin Baker, the product manager for Q5, who explained the new model strategy.
“For 2017 we expect to sell the Q5 in line with 2016 – so that’s 12,680 vehicles. Usually there is a dip when you swap over car generations, but with the growing SUV sector we expect to maintain this position.
“Anyway, we know we don’t have the supply for any more so this is a demand-led car. Which is a nice position to be in!”
According to Martin the key model in the range is the 2.0 TDI Sport – with CO2 emissions from 132g/km and equipped with all the key options “off the shelf” – he believes it will tick all the boxes for buyers.
That’s why leasing companies can expect to see more volume of Q5 going through their books.
“Because of the previous Q5’s CO2 emissions, it wasn’t always on a fleet buyer’s list,” explains Martin. “But with the CO2 efficiency gains it’s now becoming more of a choice for fleets. While it’s difficult to forecast the growth, I would say it will be more than the previous Q5’s 10%. We are looking to grow from that number.”
Interestingly, despite the rise in PCH leasing, Martin believes with a good PCP product at the dealer, the majority of this leasing growth will be driven by business rather than retail led personal leasing.
Key options for the new Q5
Getting the options right for customers is important for premium buyers. There are two in particular that Martin believes will be popular going through the leasecoss.
“The first is the technology pack and Audi phone box, which allows you to have two phones connected – your own personal phone and your business phone. It’s a life saver,” explains Martin.
“Another advantage of the phone box is that it amplifies the signal and hangs on to calls longer. Plus there are two Bluetooth connections.
“At the moment there is wireless charging for Android but the iPhone is not yet supported so you need a special case for it.
“And then there’s the Audi Virtual Cockpit. This is such a huge USP – when you use it, it allows you more flexibility.”
As far as new models go, Martin confirmed there will be no business focused front-wheel drive version with lower CO2 emissions. “With quattro on-demand technology, there’s no real requirement,” he notes. “We want to maintain an all-quattro line up.”
Meanwhile there are no immediate plans for electrification – for example a PHEV version of the Q5 as there is with the Q7, although “Audi is looking very closely at it,” he says.
Finally, I ask Martin to list the key reasons why the new Audi Q5 is better than the outgoing model.
“It’s lighter, more fuel efficient, better specified, better to drive – and as a package it is more refined. Every element you look at has been examined and refined. We have kept improving the whole package.”
With that in mind, expect to see more volume going through the leasing channels for the remainder of this year.