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Audi looking for 1.5m unit target as BMW plays catchup

A strong performance in China will help German automaker reach 2012 targets earlier than expected, while BMW plays catch-up.

Unbroken demand from China, the U.S. and Russia will help Audi reach its goal of selling 1.5 million cars by 2015, up from 1.3 million in 2011. Deliveries over the first four months rose by 11.7% to 471,300 cars this year, even higher than the manufacturer's expected annual growth of 4%.

Audi Sportback

Audi's Sportback Concept Image: Audi

At the annual shareholder meeting, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said “the way things look at the moment, we may be able to reach this target earlier” and, provided Euro sales do not slump further and demand for luxury vehicles from China remains strong, the company may match its 2011 operating profit of 5.35 billion euros ($6.92 billion).

Stadler expects Audi to keep hitting its double-digit growth in Chinese auto sales this year and is bolstering production and increasing dealerships to cope with the expansion. The company also expects European deliveries to at least match year-ago levels, despite the dismal economic situation.

VW-owned Audi outstripped its rival BMW this year, as April deliveries of Audi cars and SUVs rose 14.4% to 125,000 units, next to BMWs comparatively moderate 7.4% rise to 121,476 cars. Both manufacturers have benefited from a continuing demand for luxury cars in the lucrative Chinese market, despite its other auto market sectors performing average to poorly.

Nonetheless, BMW are continuing to realise success across the developing marketplace and is planning to expand its existing customer base by adding more used car centres. The German automaker currently only operates one such centre in the world’s largest automarket, but is planning to set up two to four second hand trading centres in Shanghai and Chengdu. In total, the Munich-based manufacturer sold 10,000 used models under the BMW premium selection program last year and “see big potential” in the field over the coming years, says head of used-car strategy at BMW China Gunter Quest.

Tags: automotive industry, China, Corporate News, OEM and automotive

Published 15th May, 2012

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