By on June 8, 2016

2016 Audi Q3, Image: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

TTAC is the American car buyer’s influencer of choice. We render verdicts, and the masses abide by our verdicts. Why do Americans buy more than 400,000 Toyota Camrys per year? Because TTAC’s Jack Baruth track-tested a Camry and was more than a little complimentary. That’s why.

Want more evidence of TTAC’s overwhelming authority? On April 11, this article on the subject of the Audi Q3 written by yours truly accused the Q3’s ride comfort of being nonexistent. I said the Q3 is the Audi that makes sure, against all reason, that I possess no pro-Audi bias.

You already know the results of such an article. In response to the critique, Americans would quickly turn away from the Q3, and inventory at Audi dealers would surely build up as customers cancelled their orders.

Or, the Audi Q3 would break its own U.S. sales record in April and then break that record again in May.

To be fair, even in its best U.S. sales month ever, the Audi Q3 was the least popular crossover in its category. While year-over-year Q3 sales jumped 52 percent to 1,719 units, the Mercedes-Benz GLA’s 13-percent decline still translated to 366 more sales than Audi managed. (Not that TTAC is in the business of heartily recommending the GLA.)

BMW X1 sales nearly doubled to 2,210 units. Year-to-date, the Q3 trails both of its German rivals by large margins.

In all seriousness, we can’t say this wasn’t as easy to foretell as a Russian track and field star’s failed drug test. Despite all the criticism levelled against the Q3, I wrote two months ago that the smallest Audi crossover lands “smack in the middle of the current auto market’s desirability intersection” because of its premium badge, affordable base price, on-road competence, eye-catching design, elevated ride height, and all-wheel drive.

The Audi Q3 may not exactly be what most small luxury SUV/crossover buyers want, but it’s representative of a trend that won’t die anytime soon. The Q3/X1/GLA trio’s sales are up 38 percent so far this year and jumped 29 percent in May 2016, specifically. In May, a month in which U.S. auto sales volume fell 6 percent and U.S. utility vehicle sales grew just 2 percent (blame an abbreviated auto sales calendar), U.S. sales of the small luxury SUV/crossover category jumped 18 percent.

Seventeen small, premium-brand crossovers generated 35,959 sales in May 2016. Thanks to TTAC, the Audi Q3 produced 4.8 percent of those sales, up from 3.7 percent one year ago.

[Image Source: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars]

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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15 Comments on “TTAC Reverse Bump: Record Audi Q3 Sales In May After Our April Critique...”


  • avatar
    Cole Grundy

    Tim,

    Love your work here. It’s just the best. Good writing, fun concepts, nice photos.

    Leaves the harmful stereotypes out of it!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I find the egg shape of the Q3 generally poor, and I’ve never been impressed by this thing. It’s almost as bad as the Tiguan.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    The Q3 has two things going for it- it’s a CUV, and it’s got a German badge.

    Audi could make the thing out of Afghan goat turds and it would still sell.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I do not understand the Q3’s appeal (nor that of its Volkswagen sibling, the Tiguan). The interior looks especially dated compared to Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus. But to each his own.

  • avatar

    I’ve done no fewer than 4 new car surveys this year.

    Not a one mentioned TTAC.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    The Q3 proves two things:

    1) CUVs are king at the moment
    2) Branding matters

    Q3 is based on a 12+ year old platform and I would agree, is by far the least competitive of the CUVs on the market right now. Heck, I’d take a Lincoln MKC over this thing any day of the week. The ride is harsh, the interior dated, space at a premium.

    The next variant, based on MQB, should arrive EU side within the next 24 months, but as the extended life of the Q7 proved, branding matters.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      It seems that a huge percentage of car buyers don’t know or care in the least how old a platform is. The Envision has been sold since 2014 in China, but it’s “new” to North America. Archaic (by our terms) designs sell in large numbers in Mexico, Iran, India, Brazil, China and many other places. (Nissan Tsuru, for example.)
      Ford Rangers sold well for well over a decade with just simple facelifts. VW Beetles, Chrysler minivans, Volvo everything… the list goes on.
      If it has a favorable first impression, a comfortable monthly payment and a nod from the wife, it’ll move off the lot.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The MKC is a great CUV. I would at least consider one against the benchmarks (Q5, RDX).

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        Agree on MKC. Drove one last year at this time, wife wanted a JGC instead. Regardless, I was impressed. I’d be very interested in the revised MKX: handsome car.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Cadillac is boning themselves by not having a compact CUV.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          As Alex Dykes highlighted, the MKX does have hold its own nicely against the segment-leading RX, especially with the optional 2.7-liter TT engine. Aside from some fit-and-finish issues, it looks like a very competitive car for the segment, and I’m seeing quite a few of them around.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’d drive up beside those things in my old A3 and think it was just a jacked up A3. Aparently I was wrong, it’s a crappy jacked up A3

  • avatar
    derekson

    I’m curious about how much better the ride quality is in a Q3 with reasonably sized wheels like 16″ or even 17″. I haven’t driven one so I can’t say, but I have driven a friend’s Q5 and it rides well. I think it’s a 2013 model that’s “Premium Plus (md tier)”. I can’t imagine the Q3 suspension is tuned in a massively different manner.

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