Currently reading: Audi Q8 E-tron could be axed early as firm mulls factory closure
Drop in demand for Audi's first electric car has prompted the firm to consider shutting its Belgium factory

Audi could end production of the Q8 E-tron electric SUV early as it contemplates the closure of its factory in Brussels, Belgium.

The Audi Q8 E-tron, originally known as just the E-tron, entered production in 2018 as Audi's first series-production electric car and was heavily updated in 2022 with a new name, tweaked styling and a much larger battery.

It was expected to remain in production until around the middle of the decade as the flagship for an electric SUV line-up that now also includes the smaller Q4 E-tron and mid-sized Q6 E-tron.

But now, Audi says a "global decline in customer orders in the electric luxury-class segment" threatens the large SUV's viability and the company has laid out plans to restructure the Brussels facility where it is built.

Belgian law dictates that Audi enters into a consultation process with the workers' council and other "responsible social partners" to discuss potential alternatives to ending production, but the company notes that a "cessation of operations" is possible.

Audi notes the drop in demand for the Q8 E-tron is "segment specific" and has not indicated that any of its other EVs are affected. 

It says the "ramp-up of new models on the [EV-specific] Premium Platform Electric", including the new Q6 E-tron, is one factor in the diminishing popularity of the Q8 E-tron, which is based on an adapted version of the Volkswagen Group's ubiquitous MLB architecture.

The similarly sized, combustion-powered Audi Q8 is built in Bratislava, Slovakia, and is unaffected by the announcement. 

While Audi has not given any sales figures, the Brussels plant produced just 53,555 examples of the Q8 E-tron and its Sportback sibling in 2023, around half the number of Q4 E-trons that were built in Zwickau, Germany.

Audi says it also faces "long-standing structural challenges" at the Brussels plant. Its location close to the city centre makes restructuring unfeasible and there are greater logistical costs associated with deliveries and shipments compared with other factories located outside of cities.

The company acknowledges that jobs may be cut as a result but has pledged to "discuss solutions for the employees" as part of the consultation process.

Volker Germann, CEO of Audi Brussels, said: "The announcement of the intention does not mean that a decision has been made. Nevertheless, this news has been felt very profoundly by the employees in Brussels and by me too. 

"A transparent and constructive dialogue is important in the process that will follow. We will take all perspectives into account."


Read our review

Car review

New name but not a new car, instead a range-boosting update to the E-tron electric SUV

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: Deputy editor

Felix is Autocar's deputy editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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RS_Inc 11 July 2024

*MLB Evo platform is what the Q8 e-tron is based on. With its innards scooped out. 

Peter Cavellini 10 July 2024

Anyone else having trouble shifting A8 sized Ev's?, haven't seen many Ev's this size on the roads lately.

RS_Inc 11 July 2024

Yeah, even the frankly nigh-on perfect Lucid Air is struggling. Mercedes can't give EQS's away. i7 is probably too new to feel the drop. Genesis G80 Electrified has its sales figures mixed in with the ICE car. Taycan sales are down and Porsche is hoping the facelift will renew interest.Probably only the Rolls Spectre, Tesla Model S and the Chinese are selling well.