Audi: strong growth in the United States and China
“Even though the headwinds in some European markets have strengthened noticeably of late, the signs continue to point to growth for Audi: With the biggest order backlog of all time in Germany and newly launched models like the revised A4 family and the
Audi experienced particularly strong growth in the United States in January: Audi of America was able to keep the brand’s record-breaking run going from the previous year with around 9,354 deliveries, and achieved the most successful start to the year in the U.S. in company history with an increase of 19.7 percent. Once again, sales of the new A6 sedan in particular experienced strong growth: with 1,130 cars, it exceeded the results of its predecessor in January of last year by 98.6 percent. Audi delivered another 643 units of the A7 Sportback, which is winning a large number of new customers for the brand in the U.S. as well. Two-thirds of all A7 customers in the United States were first-time buyers of an Audi model. January sales for Audi also rose sharply in Canada (+31.7 percent) and South America (+14.4 percent).
In most European markets, the best-selling Audi A4 model range spent its final days in dealerships in January, before arrival of the new version of the midsize model range in dealer showrooms in the first week of February. The orders received for the new generation of the A4 in Germany indicate that it will build upon the success of its predecessor – those orders make up a significant share of the high order backlog in the company’s home market. In terms of deliveries, the German market finished the first month of the year with 13,067 units delivered, 2.3 percent below the same figure for January 2011. Here as well, the new A6 experienced strong growth, with a 77.6 percent increase for the especially popular Avant alone. Demand for the entire A6 model line rose worldwide in the past month by 26.0 percent to around 19,900 cars.
As in almost all European export markets, January sales for Audi UK are set against extraordinarily successful figures from the previous year; at that time, the introduction of the Audi A1 in fall 2010 had a massive impact on the delivery results. In the first month of 2012, 8,565 British customers took delivery of a new Audi, down 13.1 percent. In France, Audi delivered 4,009 cars (-16.6 percent) in January, thus confirming the leading position of the four rings in the premium segment. Here, a tax increase at the start of the year also impacted market development over the past few weeks as purchases were made in advance of the change. The underlying conditions remain difficult however, especially in Spain and Italy, where the respective January sales figures for Audi were 38.1 and 27.6 percent below those of the reference month. In contrast, Audi was able to exceed January 2011 sales in Eastern Europe, especially in Russia, with an increase of 19.5 percent to around 1,440 deliveries.
In the Asia-Pacific region, sales figures climbed a full 21.8 percent. Audi achieved especially high double-digit growth in India (+39.0 percent), Japan (39.7 percent) and in the most important market in the region, China. Audi delivered 27,206 cars to Chinese customers in January (incl. Hong Kong), an increase of 22.6 percent compared to the same period last year. The new Audi A8 L contributed to the strong start for the year in the Middle Kingdom with 1,442 deliveries, as did the continued success of the long wheelbase Audi A6 L. The company’s best-selling model in this market is still based on the previous generation; in just a few weeks Audi will introduce the long wheelbase version of the new A6 sedan in China.
Schwarzenbauer also sees strong drivers for worldwide growth for the four rings during the rest of the year: “The launch of the new A3 will give us an extra boost in the second half of 2012, especially in Europe. At the same time, we will continue to ramp up production of the highly sought Audi Q3. Overall, in 2012 we want to outperform the worldwide car market, which we expect to grow by about four percent.”