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Audi Oz ‘aiming for number one’ by 2020

Front runner: Audi has five years to close the gap to – and pass – Mercedes-Benz for the number one prestige spot in Australia.

BMW’s recent claims don’t faze Audi, as it goes for second spot in prestige race

Audi logo14 May 2015

By TIM ROBSON

DESPITE claims by BMW that it will find its way back to the number one spot in Australia’s growing prestige market, Audi’s local arm is forging ahead to beat its German rival to the punch.

Both players have some work to do to catch the resurgent Mercedes-Benz in the local sales race. Mercedes sold 27,112 vehicles in 2014 (23,106 of which were passenger vehicles), against 22,722 for BMW and 19,227 for Audi.

Audi (7196) is nipping at the heels of BMW (7408) in 2015, however, sitting just 212 cars back after the first quarter of 2015, and beating the Munich crew in April sales (1714 versus 1554).

Mercedes sits way out in the lead off the back of a strong C-Class debut, selling 9795 passenger vehicles in the first four months of 2015.

Audi Australia general manager of corporate communications Anna Burgdorf said the German car-maker’s goal for global market leadership is a strategy that is being followed in Australia.

“We’ve been relatively clear with our global goals to be the world’s number one premium brand – and we’re pretty close now to overtaking BMW and being the number one premium brand (in the world),” she said.

“That is reflected in Australia, where we think the timing will be around 2020.

Our first goal was to be number two, and we’re rapidly closing on BMW for that number two position.”

Like BMW, Audi does not want to lose sight of important business elements as it seeks to achieve its sales goals.

“The thing that’s most important for us is that volume growth doesn’t come at the expense of things like customer experience, being a strong and a good employer, and dealer profitability,” she said.

“For us, volume would be fantastic, but it cannot come at the expense of those other critical indicators as part of business health and business success.”

Audi’s roster is currently led by the A3, which has so far notched up 1828 sales in hatch, sedan and cabrio body styles for 2015, meaning it is ahead of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class which has 1498 sales in the same period.

Its ageing Q5 has moved 1323 units, representing a 32 per cent increase in sales over the same period last year, showing there is still life in the popular mid-size SUV.

Regarding the arrival of the next-generation Q5, Ms Burgdorf said “there will be a replacement for the Q5, but we can’t tell you when”.

The Q3 has shifted 1148 units thus far in 2015, up by 11.8 per cent year on year, while other models have also increased sales January to April, including the TT sportscar (109.5 per cent), the A5 (29.8 per cent) A5 Sportback (21.4 per cent) and A8 limousine (13.6 per cent).

Ms Burgdorf was unequivocal about the company’s ambitions going forward.

“Are we aiming for number one? Absolutely.”

The company’s next big launch is the new Q7, due before the end of 2015, while the next-generation A4 is expected early in 2016.

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