|May 17, 2004
Audi Introduces 12-cylinder A8 to Chinese Market
Today saw the premiere on the Chinese market of the long-wheelbase version of the Audi A8 6.0, with a 331 kW (450 bhp) twelve-cylinder engine. For the event, Audi's Chairman Dr. Martin Winterkorn was joined in Beijing by the company's Board Member for Purchasing Erich Schmitt, who is responsible for the Chinese market area, and Board Member for Marketing and Sales Ralph Weyler. Winterkorn emphasised the "exceptional strategic importance of China for Audi", describing it as the fastest-growing market on the current automobile scene. "We are supplying China with ultra-modern technology and the most advanced of all the luxury passenger cars, the A8," he said. "The Audi A6 and Audi A4 have made us the leading manufacturer in these very important market segments."
"As a result of such production activities, many suppliers have become established in China and have set up successful joint ventures with local companies", said Erich Schmitt. This will lead to a strong supplier industry in the future, one that can participate on the world market.
Schmitt drew attention to a new Audi sales record: in the first four months of the current year, Audi sold 22,601 cars in China, a 28-percent increase compared with the same period of the previous year. 18,141 locally manufactured Audi A6 and 3,571 A4 cars were delivered (an overall growth of 27 percent), as well as 889 imported cars (up by 43 percent), of which the A8 accounted for 510 units. Sales of the Audi A8 were boosted by 113 percent, and Schmidt declared: "We expect growth to continue in the years to come."
The exclusive dealer network is of particular importance as a factor in Audi's success. As Board Member for Marketing and Sales Weyler put it: "The existence of our sales and service network is clear evidence of our market leadership and strong customer orientation in the premium segment." Audi has 98 exclusive outlets in 59 of the country's main towns and cities. In the next two years, considerable further extension of the dealer network is planned, in order, in Weyler's words, to achieve "full territorial coverage in China".