115th Annual General Meeting of AUDI AG: Audi on Course for Ninth Record-Breaking Year in Succession
Audi was able to establish a new record for vehicle sales in the first four months of 2004. “2004 will be another record-breaking year for Audi. The main factors behind this success will be the recently launched A6 and the A3 Sportback, which will be appearing on the market in the autumn,” declared Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Dr. Martin Winterkorn, at today’s 115th Annual General Meeting in Ingolstadt. “In the longer term, we will boost annual unit sales to over one million Audi vehicles,” continued Winterkorn.
Winterkorn emphasised to the shareholders Audi’s intention to build on its strong market position in the premium segment in Western and Eastern Europe, and in particular in China and Japan, over the next few years. “We will be unveiling six new vehicle concepts within the next three years. These will be highly desirable, sporty products,” added the Board Chairman.
Excellent start for Audi A6 – around 20,000 customer orders
The Audi brand sold more vehicles worldwide in the first four months of 2004 than during corresponding periods in the company’s history: 259,028 units, representing a 4.1 percent increase on the corresponding period of the previous year (2003: 248,924). The revenue of the Audi Group during the period in question rose to 8.2 billion euros, around seven percent more than in the equivalent period of the previous year (January to April 2003: 7.7 billion euros). Revenue consequently rose faster than unit sales. “Our customers are ordering even higher-specification vehicles with more extensive equipment,” said Winterkorn.
The model enjoying the steepest growth in the first four months was the Audi A8, with unit sales reaching 7,434 (2003: 5,235), equivalent to almost half again. It was followed by the Audi A3 with sales totalling 57,555, an increase of around one-third on the total for 2003 (43,359). “The launch of the new A6 has been a dazzling success,” remarked Winterkorn. “Customer orders for the saloon that we brought onto the market just a few days ago have currently reached almost 20,000 units, way in excess of our expectations. We will have built around 88,000 of this model by the end of the year.”
Lamborghini trebled its unit sales, dispatching a total of 530 sports cars to customers between January and April 2004. The figure for the same period last year was 154.
Record vehicle sales in 23 markets worldwide, including 13 in Europe
Audi was able to post record levels of vehicle sales between January and April in a total of 23 markets, including 13 in Europe, among them Great Britain and Spain. China remained Audi’s fastest-growing market in the first four months of 2004. Some 22,601 vehicles were sold there in the first four months of the year. The figure in the corresponding prior-year period was 17,672 (plus 27.9 percent).
“2004 will be a record year for Audi, irrespective of the fortunes of the economy in general,” commented Winterkorn. “Audi is a healthy company that is committed to maintaining an industrial base in Germany. Over the past ten years, we have created 12,000 jobs in Germany alone.” He explained that the total number of apprenticeships had risen steadily by 40 percent since 2000, from around 1,400 to a current total of some 2,000, as a result of the successful implementation of the “Audi Initiative for More Training”.
Record-breaking 2003: net profit up 5.4 percent
Rupert Stadler, AUDI AG Board Member for Finance and Organisation, presented the details of Audi’s eighth record-breaking year in a row, the 2003 financial year, to shareholders. The revenue of the Audi Group rose by 3.6 percent to 23.4 billion euros. Net profit improved by 5.4 percent to 816 million euros. Earnings per share totalled 18.91 euros (17.94 euros). Profit before tax amounted to 1.1 billion euros in 2003, representing a decrease of around 146 million euros on the previous year. “Unfavourable exchange rates, in particular against the US dollar and the pound sterling, affected last year’s earnings figure,” explained Stadler.
Vehicle sales of the Audi brand worldwide were boosted to 769,893 units in 2003 (plus 3.7 percent). The number of vehicles sold on Western European export markets rose by around 1.2 percent to 309,880 vehicles. The market share in Western Europe (including Germany) was consequently unchanged from the previous year at 3.8 percent.