Audi could end European production of the Q8 e-tron
It is the vehicle with which Audi seriously entered the world of electric mobility under the name e-tron quattro. With the 2022 facelift, the model was renamed the Q8 e-tron. Döllner’s predecessor, Markus Duesmann, announced a successor for 2026, which will probably be based on the Group’s PPE platform. Duesmann had planned to also build the second Q8 e-tron generation at the Foret plant near the Belgian capital of Brussels.
As the German magazine Automobilwoche reports, Döllner will push through his strategy of making the company leaner and more efficient. According to the report, Audi should become “a process- and software-oriented organisation.” That also involves efficient utilisation of the plants. With the current Q8-e-tron generation, which is already a bit outdated in terms of technology, the plant in Brussels is not being utilised to capacity. And plans for overflow production of the MEB model Q4 e-tron from Zwickau were reduced, as Zwickau can meet demand on its own – and there is virtually no overflow. According to the report, the plans are off the table entirely.
Apparently, Audi does not trust the planned PPE successor generation of the Q8 e-tron to utilise the Belgian plant to capacity, or the production costs in Foret are so high that production abroad would still be cheaper than in the fully used plant in Belgium. According to the article, which does not provide a precise source, there are internal discussions about building the Q8 e-tron in Mexico.
However, the exact location and a specified time frame have yet to be finalised. Audi operates its own plant in Mexico, where the Q5 (including the plug-in hybrid) is built in San José Chiapa – like the current Q8 e-tron, the Q5 is based on the MLB evo modular system. However, with the generation change to the second generation of the Q8 e-tron, the model would switch to the PPE, so the presumed platform synergy does not have to come about.
The VW plant in Puebla is around 60 kilometres away. As Audi’s Q5 production is better utilised than the nearby VW plant, there are plans to build the Q8 in Puebla in future – for North America and Europe. For the Chinese market, the model will be built in Changchun, according to the report.
Even though former CEO Duesmann had already announced Q8 production in Brussels from 2026 at a staff meeting, the plan has been put on ice. When asked, an Audi spokesperson explained: “We are working closely with the Volkswagen Group to optimise plant allocation for our global production network. A follow-up allocation for Brussels is currently being discussed.”
The future of the Q8 e-tron in Brussels is thus not certain, but no decision has yet been made. That is because there is much more at stake if the Q8 project is moved to another plant than just a model shift: as the Q4 e-tron will probably continue to come mainly from Zwickau in the future, the Brussels plant would be left entirely without a model, and another series is currently not foreseeable. Therefore, the plant’s future would be up for debate.
automobilwoche.de (in German)