Audi has announced it will build a small Q3 crossover at a SEAT plant in Martorell, Spain, part of which is being retooled for the 2011 launch of the new model. While struggling SEAT gets a much needed boost in production capacity—and 1200 jobs are saved—Audi has postponed the decision on a U.S. production facility until a later date. The German automaker had been considering its own U.S. plant for a while, and potentially could share the Volkswagen Group's new factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is scheduled to produce VW’s New Mid-Size Sedan (NMS) and a VW-badged crossover vehicle from 2010 on. However, "there is currently no urgent need to select additional sites," says Audi CEO Rupert Stadler.
The Q3 will join Audi's portfolio of crossover SUVs, which includes the new Q5 and the updated-for-2010 Q7. But while the Q5 and the Q7 both have longitudinal engines, the Q3 is based on a layout with a transverse mounted powerplant. In fact, its platform is shared with a number of VW models, as well as the Audi A3. While the Q5 shares its architecture with the A4 (and the next-generation A6), think of the Q3 as the sister model of the VW Tiguan. But unlike the Tiguan, off-road capability was not on the list of Audi's engineering targets for the Q3. Sportiness was, though, making the company’s move to offer Quattro all-wheel drive as standard a sound decision.
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