What do you see as the biggest steps forward for Audi Sport (formerly Audi Quattro) since you took over early last year?
There have been two big steps. The first one is to rename the company from Audi Quattro to Audi Sport. Motorsport is in our DNA and it’s a good umbrella for all the activities we are involved in. This is a move that’s important to increase the awareness of the company and to give it a clear identity. The second big step is to have a strategy for the products… not only for the next five years, but also thereafter, with the focus being on electrification. This means we have a full pipeline of turbo-engined cars coming until 2020, and then we will have the first EV (electric vehicle).
What has the response been like to the Abu Dhabi’s Audi Sport Center — the first of its kind in the world?
The Middle East is one of the most important markets for Audi Sport models and we have seen an 18 per cent growth year-on-year, helped by the opening late last year of Audi Sport showroom in Abu Dhabi. We have plans to introduce even more performance models throughout 2018, which is an indication of our commitment and expectations for the region.
What are the prospects of Audi Sport building an RS Q7 to take on the BMW X5M and Mercedes-AMG GLE 63?
We usually don’t talk about the future, but what I can say is that the Q models are important for us as a cornerstone of our product strategy, and I’m not just saying this because I’m sitting in Dubai where SUVs are the most important segment. We are focusing on the Q models because it’s a growing segment globally. All I can tell you for now is that there will be a nice surprise in 2019.