Buyers wanting a new SQ5 can currently only purchase one that’s already in stock, with no date set for when new specification models can be ordered.
“Audi UK has filled all the available SQ5 production slots in its 2018 model year allocation and only a limited number of cars remain in Audi centre stock,” said a company spokesman. “Customers looking to place an order can contact their local Audi centre for the latest inventory information.”
However, a source told Autocar that the SQ5, which is a hot version of the Q5 SUV, has been pulled from production because Audi is preparing the car to conform to the stricter Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), which comes into force from 1 September.
All new cars delivered after that date will need to conform to the WLTP’s emissions limits, which are considered to be tougher than the outgoing lab-based New European Driving Cycle test because the new procedure measures exhaust emissions during real-world driving.
The changes mean that any car set for a September delivery date – even one ordered months before that – would have to comply with the new rules. Our source suggested that the SQ5 may be among a likely large number of cars from multiple manufacturers that are being suspended from showrooms until they have been adjusted to WLTP standards. BMW has previously admitted to Autocar that it will be doing this with the M4.
Audi builds its Q5 models in Mexico, meaning delivery times to the UK can take several weeks. This will make it more difficult for Audi UK to gauge what volume of cars can be kept here in stock without risking some of them not being sold before 1 September.
That said, manufacturers might be granted a buffer to help them from having to, in effect, scrap unsold pre-WLTP cars. Autocar understands that the Department for Transport will allow manufacturers to have a stock of 10% of their annual sales after the 1 September deadline, thereby granting them the right to sell cars of pre-WLTP standards following its introduction.
The DfT wouldn't comment on the claims for a buffer, although a spokesman did admit that a consultation had taken place regarding the issue and more information will be revealed in due course.