Audi Achieves Best First Half in Company History
Audi again set a new record for vehicle sales in the first half of 2006. Worldwide, around 463,500 new cars (January to June 2005: 421,965) were handed over to their owners. This represents growth of 9.8 percent compared with the same period of last year. "Audi is now well on course to establish its eleventh sales record in succession for the year as a whole. Our aim is to sell 50,000 vehicles more in 2006 than we did last year, when we also set a new sales record," explained Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG.
In the first six months, Audi set sales records in eight different markets in Western Europe. These include most notably Great Britain, with sales of 46,560 vehicles (45,107, up 3.2 percent), Italy, where sales reached 30,218 vehicles (27,534, up 9.7 percent), Spain with 30,188 units sold (28,673, up 5.3 percent), France with vehicle sales reaching 24,961 (22,571, up 10.6 percent) and Belgium, where 18,893 units were sold (15,430, up 22.4 percent). Vehicle sales in Western Europe excluding Germany rose by 5.6 percent to 205,400 (194,504) vehicles.
Audi achieved its highest growth rates during the first six months of 2006 in the Chinese market (including Hong Kong): the brand with the four rings recorded an increase of 94.2 percent there, making a total of 38,838 units sold (19,996 in the previous year). “Audi is the market leader by some distance in the Chinese premium segment, and it is the fastest-growing premium brand,” states Ralph Weyler, Board Member for Marketing and Sales at Audi.
Audi also posted growth in the important US market: vehicle sales of 40,455 units represent an increase of 7.3 percent (37,701). The Audi Q7 experienced an extremely successful launch here in June. "The Audi Q7, which has been available on the US market for barely a month, is receiving an excellent response from customers. We have already sold 1,310 Q7 models on this market," commented Weyler.
The situation also developed very positively for Audi in Eastern Europe: with sales totalling around 13,800 vehicles, 29,7 percent more cars were handed over to their new owners than in the first half of 2005 (10,641). The largest individual market in the region is Russia, where vehicle sales soared by 51.8 percent to 4,124 units (2,717).
The Audi overseas markets with the highest rates of growth in the first half of the year were South Africa, with 6,617 unit sales (5,814, up 13.8 percent), South Korea, with vehicle sales of 2,778 (1,174, up 136.6 percent) and Australia, where 2,674 vehicles were sold (2,388, up 12 percent).
In Germany, Audi's biggest sales market, the Ingolstadt-based car manufacturer succeeded in increasing its unit sales further in a difficult overall market. With unit sales of 127,498 for the period from January to June, its performance was 1.1 percent up on the previous year (126,093). "In this difficult context, we were able to increase our market share in the first six months from 7.4 to 7.5 percent. Despite the relative weakness of the car market in Germany, we will still continue to grow in this, our home market," commented Ralph Weyler.
In all, sales records were established in 39 markets worldwide in the first half of 2006. Models making a significant contribution towards this development included the Audi A3 Sportback, of which around 86,400 were sold worldwide (up 23 percent compared with the previous year) and the Audi A6, with sales reaching around 119,000 units (up 32 percent).
Sales of the Audi A8, too, rose by almost ten percent to more than 11,600 units. And the new Audi Q7 has already contributed some 16,800 units to the sales total since its market launch in Europe this March.
In June 2006, vehicle sales worldwide of almost 80,000 vehicles showed a 2.7 percent increase on the volume for the previous month (77,828).
Winterkorn stated: "We aim to have sold around 880,000 vehicles to customers by the end of the year." And Weyler concluded: "We have already established an excellent starting position in Europe and China. In the coming years we will systematically launch models in the segments in which we are not yet represented, for example by introducing the Audi A5 and the Audi Q5. This is the ideal basis for continuing to achieve growth on all fronts in the years ahead of us."