The FINANCIAL -- AUDI AG delivered around 125,100 automobiles in February. In North America (+16.1%) strong demand for the Audi A4 and the Q7 in particular once again translated into double-digit growth.
Likewise in Europe (+1.9%), the Four Rings achieved the best start to the year in its history and continued to grow in February. In China, Audi is currently holding intensive talks with its local partners in order to position the joint cooperation suitably for the planned next stage of growth. In this phase the Chinese dealers are managing their business cautiously and reported 5.8 percent fewer deliveries in the past month than a year ago. Global sales in February were thus 1.1 percent below the recordbreakingfigure from 2016.
“We see huge opportunities for the future in China, as the world’s leading market for sales, digitization and e-mobility,” says Dietmar Voggenreiter, Board member for Sales and Marketing at AUDI AG. “We are preparing our business model for these opportunities and intend to take far-reaching, sustainable decisions with our partners. In so doing we are taking a challenging, yet important step.”
In January, Audi decided with its joint venture partner FAW to intensify the joint collaboration in China as part of a strategic growth plan. The agreement envisages, among other things, extending the locally produced portfolio with further electrified models. In the second step, theoperational implementation of the future agenda is now to be defined with the Chinese dealers. Furthermore, Audi is looking at future collaboration with SAIC in a potential second joint venture in order to open up further market potential. “This phase of far-reaching strategic structural decisions will still take some time. The top priority for us is to further develop the Chinese business profitably for all partners,” says Voggenreiter. Meanwhile, the Chinese dealers reported 32,155 delivered automobiles for the month of February, 5.8 percent less than one year ago, following a sharp drop in sales in January compared with 2016.
By contrast, Audi sales grew in Europe, where around 66,400 deliveries in February exceeded the 2016 figure by 1.9 percent. The brand achieved substantial gains especially in southern Europe: In Spain, sales rose by another 7.1 percent to 4,949 units and in Italy even by 29.9 percent to 6,125 customers in the month. With the new Q2, Audi is successfully attracting an aboveaveragenumber of new customers in both markets; Italy is currently the largest export market for the city SUV. Across all models, the constant growth over the past few months for Audi was also maintained in the German domestic market (+1.8% to 29,017 cars) in February. In the United Kingdom, by contrast, the local generation change over for the right-hand-drive versionsof the Audi Q5 and the A5 Sportback left its mark. 5,203 units sold in the United Kingdom was2.8 percent below the previous year’s figure. Business in Europe continued to be dampened by the market weakness in Russia: down 22.9 percent to 1,350 automobiles in February, according to Volkswagen.
Among all markets, the United States achieved the largest growth in terms of sales volume most recently. 13,741 customers in total decided to buy a model from Audi of America in February, up 17.3 percent compared with the same month in 2016. Demand for the Q7 continues to be particularly high in the U.S. market: The full-size SUV saw sales rise in Februaryby 49.8 percent to 2,477 units, thus climbing into second spot of the bestselling Audi models in the United States since the start of the year. Across all Q models, Audi’s SUV sales increased last month by 35.8 percent to 6,874 U.S. customers. Sales of the A4 also increased further in February to counter the market downturn in the sedan segment, with the model achieving a 30.1 percent increase to 2,377 deliveries in the United States. In Canada, sales of the A4 roseto more than double the previous year’s figure (+132.2 percent to 418 A4 models), on the back of a similar jump in January. Total sales across the entire portfolio also proved very positive in February for Audi Canada: 1,970 cars sold once more represent high growth of 27.8 percent.
In March, the new Audi A5 Coupé will be premiered in the United States and Canada. The United States has been the largest global sales market for the first generation of the model. The sporty Audi Coupé has captured two thirds of its U.S. drivers as new customers for the brand.