Audi out to beat BMW, Merc
BIGGER THAN BMW: Audi hopes further investment and rolling out variants of the A3 compact will help it overtake BMW for the No.1 spot in luxury car sales figures.
Audi, the world's second-largest maker of luxury vehicles, is planning to spend the equivalent of about R144-billion through to 2016 to develop new models and expand production capacity as it pursues BMW's sales lead.
The Detroit News has reported that Audi, a member of the VW group, budgeted the equivalent of about R118-billion to develop vehicles and technologies, including lighter cars and electric powertrains, as part of the investment programme. The spending includes money to increase production at its factory in Hungary, add capacity in China and build a plant in Mexico.
Chief financial officer Axel Strotbek said: "We will keep investing large sums to pursue our growth strategy. The expansion of our global manufacturing infrastructure will help us to continue growing."
Audi aims to sell at least two-million cars a year to overtake BMW by 2020. The brand's expansion is part of VW's goal to become the world's largest automaker by 2018. The Wolfsburg, Germany, automaker plans to spend R565-billion on its auto division, including Audi, through 2015.
Munich-based BMW, the DetNews adds, is expected to strengthen its dominance of the luxury car industry in 2013 with sales up by 4.6% to 1.54-million in 2013, beating Audi's 1.1% growth to 1.44-million, according to estimates from industry researcher IHS Automotive.
DELIVERIES UP 26%
With the debt crisis depressing demand in Europe, Germany's luxury-car makers have maintained growth by selling vehicles in the U.S. and China. BMW, Audi and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz are all targeting record sales in 2012, while mass-market competitors in Europe are bracing for the lowest sales in the region in 17 years, according to The DetNews.
In November 2012 BMW increased deliveries 26% to more than 145 000 cars and SUV's. That compares with growth of 11% to 123 600 deliveries at Audi and 5.7% to over 120 000 vehicles at Mercedes.
Audi is said to be seeking to boost sales in 2013 by rolling out variants of the A3 compact, including a sedan. BMW is countering with the new 4 Series coupe and the i3, its first battery car.
Mercedes, which was overtaken in sales numbers by Audi in 2011, has also set its sights on overtaking BMW. The Stuttgart-based automaker will revamp its flagship S-Class sedan and introduce the CLA compact four-door coupe. The DetNews reports that IHS forecasts Mercedes will retake the No.2 spot in 2013 with sales of 1.46-million vehicles.