Audi and VW May Build New Plant in North America
INGOLSTADT, GERMANY– Audi AG Chief Executive Rupert Stadler said that the automaker is in talkswith parent Volkswagen AG over building a new plant in North America and reiterated Audi’s target of selling more than 1million cars this year for the first time, according to www.marketwatch.com.
In March,Stadler had said that Audi would also consider setting up a plant on its own inthe dollar zone, noting that production would start in 2010 at the earliest asAudi “won’t make any hasty decisions.”
Car salesare expected to be fueled in coming months by the revamped version of Audi’sbest-selling A4 model, which was first shown at the Frankfurt auto show in September and is currently being rolled out globally. The new A4model along with the new A5 coupe are cornerstones of Audi’s plan to narrow thegap with its two German premium-brand peers. Audi hopes to outpace BMW AG (BMW.XE)and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz brand and reach annual sales of 1.5 million carsby 2015.
Audienjoyed strong growth in recent years, especially in Asia and Europe, but isstill lagging behind its German peers in terms of sales in the U.S. market. Audi aims to boost its U.S. sales to 200,000 in 2015 from 93,506 in 2007.
Stadlersaid Audi plans to have up to 12 dealerships in India by the end of this year andincrease the number of Chinese dealerships to 132, from 125 currently. And, a90 more will be added in China by 2012.
In thefirst four months of the year, Audi’s sales were up 1.7 percent compared with the sameperiod last year at around 338,000 cars, with demand in Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific markets fostering growth. Audi expectsmarkets such as China, India, and Russiato maintain strong growth momentum this year as the United States, Western Europe, and
Japan are expected to stagnate ordecline, according to www.marketwatch.com.
Lastmonth, Audi said first-quarter operating profit rose 28% on the year, driven byan improved model mix, lower costs, and higher car sales. Along with rising carsales, Audi expects productivity gains and better efficiency to translate intohigher revenue and profitability in full-year 2008.