For the first time, Audi AG has exceeded the threshold of half a million deliveries after just four months. In particular demand for the new A3 family and the Q3, Q5 and Q7 SUV models strengthened business for the brand with the four rings.
The Ingolstadt-based premium manufacturer sold around 133,500 cars in April, representing an increase of 6.6 per cent compared with the same period in 2012. In total, around 503,000 customers worldwide have chosen a new Audi since the beginning of this year, an increase of 6.7 per cent.
“Given the extremely difficult market situation in Europe, we see our global sales result for April as positive. Especially the USA and China are currently setting the pace for Audi,” said Luca de Meo, member of the board of management for sales and marketing at AUDI AG.
“We are further strengthening our position in China with the launch of the locally produced Audi Q3, in a very dynamic segment. Already today, more than every third customer in the Chinese premium market decides in favour of an SUV.”
The Q3 went into local production a few weeks ago at the Changchun site as Audi’s fourth locally produced model alongside the A6 L, A4 L and Q5. The first units of the compact SUV became available in Chinese dealerships in April. Also the new generation of the Q5, a popular model in China, went into the showrooms last month.
Together with the Q7, Audi’s SUV sales in China increased by 31.3 per cent to 11,784 units already in April. Also sales of the locally produced A4 L saw strong growth of 19.5 per cent to 10,426 units.
Across the entire model range, Audi recorded a growth of 13.1 per cent to 38,710 cars delivered last month. From January to April, Audi handed 141,520 automobiles over to Chinese customers, an increase of 13.9 per cent.
Other markets also contributed to Audi’s growth in the Asia-Pacific region with strong double-digit growth in April. In Japan, the brand expanded its business by 36.3 per cent to sales of 1,858 cars, in South Korea by 35.7 per cent to 1,711 units and in India by 37.0 per cent to 770 automobiles.
In Europe, however, Audi was also not able to escape the general economic situation: In April, sales in this region decreased by 1.9 per cent to around 65,500 premium automobiles. In France, where Audi had achieved sales growth of 13.7 per cent in the prior-year month, deliveries this April decreased by a similar percentage (-10.2 per cent to 5,648 cars).
In Italy, the dip for Audi accounted for 19.4 per cent last month, corresponding to 3,920 units sold. In comparison to the same period last year, this result reflects the negative overall market condition as well as the fact that in April 2012, two new models in the Audi portfolio, the A1 Sportback and the Q3, had just become fully available in this market.
In Germany sales tailed off by 3.7 per cent to 23,411 cars, while Russia (+11.1 per cent to 3,651 cars).
The UK, however, bucked the trend, posting impressive growth among the major European sales markets. In the UK, the 9.4 per cent increase in demand for Audi models was strengthened by the successful start of the A3 Sportback and the new-generation Q5.
In total, European sales for the Audi model range in the first four months of 2013 matched the same period in 2012, with 253,050 units delivered. This means that the business of Audi AG in Europe is developing in a much more stable way than the region’s overall market.
In the US, Audi of America continued its strong performance of the previous months with substantial growth of 14.2 per cent to 13,157 deliveries in April. The brand was again successful with its full-size models: 467 customers took delivery of a new Audi A8, 30.4 per cent more than in April 2012.
This month, the diesel-powered version of the brand’s flagship became available at US dealers for the first time. Audi V6 diesels have compacted graphite iron (CGI) cylinder blocks. As the year progresses, Audi will expand its TDI offensive in the USA with the A6, the A7 and the Q5. Audi’s second full-size sedan, the A6, also made good headway in the USA last month, with growth of 21.7 per cent to 1,905 units sold. Also the brand’s SUVs continue to be extremely popular with US customers: Audi of America recorded 1,183 deliveries of the Q7 in April (plus 33.4 per cent), and 3,241 of the Q5 (plus 31.6 per cent).
Meanwhile, Mexico has established itself as another growth driver for Audi in North America. With growth of 54.7 per cent to 3,553 units sold from January through April, Audi is the leading premium brand in the Mexican market. In April alone, unit sales climbed 74.8 per cent compared with the prior-year month, boosted for example by strong demand for the new A3.
As of 2016, Audi will produce the Q5 for the world market in the Mexican city of San José Chiapa; last Saturday, the Audi AG board of management laid the foundation stone for the new car factory there. ∎
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