When it comes to German luxury car sales in the United States, Audi ranked third in 2011, following behind both BMW and Mercedes Benz. Truth be told, it was a distant third place, as Audi sold less than half of the inventory Mercedes-Benz moved in the U.S. last year, and a scant 38 percent of the units sold by BMW.

In fairness, BMW’s numbers are padded with sales of MINI Cooper models, while the Mercedes roll up includes both Sprinter vans and Smart cars. Even if you broke out those models, Audi has some serious ground to make up.

Knowing that we Americans love our sedans and SUVs, Audi’s plan to boost U.S. sales includes the introduction of new models in those categories. As Automotive News Europe (subscription required) reports, the first of these will be shown at next week’s Detroit Auto Show, where Audi will reveal the “Vail” concept version of the Q3 compact SUV.

Audi will also announce plans to build a sedan version of its A3 hatchback, after the new A3 is launched later in the year. No timeline was discussed to bring the A3 sedan to market, but Audi needs all the product it can muster if it wants to surpass BMW in sales by 2015.

Audi will also roll out its new A4 sedan in Detroit, which has been described as sportier than the model it replaces. Whether or not its got the goods to compete with the newly updated BMW 3-Series remains to be seen, but Audi is well aware of who its primary competition is.

We’ll bring you updates on the Audi Q3 Vail concept and on the new Audi A4 as part of our comprehensive Detroit Auto Show coverage.