If you want to know why there are so many new SUVs coming on the market, consider that last year 34% of all cars registered globally were SUVs.

That’s up from 22.4% in 2014, the year that the SUV boom really gathered momentum, according to JATO data.

That figure represents 27.85 millions registrations, led by China (10.73m registrations, up 13.2% year- on-year), North America (8.21m, up 6.2%) and Europe (5.51m, up 19.2%).

Audi targets GLE Coupé and X6 with stylish new Q8 SUV

Crucially, China’s boom shows no sign of abating. Last year 41.6% of car registrations in China were SUVs, indicating the surge in popularity of the bodystyle in a market that until recently was ruled by saloons.

However, the Q8 has a key role to play in China beyond pure sales: as Audi’s range-topper, it sets the aspirational tone for the whole brand. This is especially crucial in the SUV market, where China’s homegrown makers are making headway in the sales charts – top seller Great Wall’s SUVs sales eclipsed those of Audi by around one third last year.