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Running rings around forecasts

Niche: Audi hopes diesel models like the A4 2.0 TDI will keep sales rolling.

Audi hopes niche diesel and performance models will keep its sales momentum going

Audi logo29 Nov 2005

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

AUDI is aiming for another double-digit sales increase in Australia in 2006.

The 5500 mark is the goal, up from this year’s expected 4750 units.

This is 250 more than forecast at the beginning of this year. In 2004 3701 Audis were registered, against 2003’s record 4450 sales.

And by 2009 the company is keen to crack the 8000-unit mark.

Managing Director Joerg Hofmann is pleased with his company’s performance this year.

"20 per cent ahead of last year was the prediction (this year) but (approximately) 30 per cent is an over-achievement of our internal targets," he said.

"The good thing about Audi in 2005 is that we are not just depending on one model," he added.

Audi has tripled its A3 sales, while the core A4’s volume is up 20 per cent while the A6’s has risen by 50 per cent. All have undergone wholesale changes inside the last 18 months.

Only the ageing TT and previous-A6 derived Allroad – both nearing the end of their model cycles – have had significant sales drops. Replacements will be upon us by mid-2007.

The A8 is also down, by around 16 per cent.

But Mr Hofmann says that the 120 A8s he expects to find homes this year is still a significant tally in a segment limited to 600 sales annually.

This car, along with the A3 and A4 from this month, will receive a sales boost with the introduction of key niche models made up of turbo-diesel and high-performance editions.

In order of appearance they are the A3 Sportback Turbo FSI quattro, A4 2.0 TDI, S4 sedan, A8 4.2 TDI V8, RS4, A4 3.0 TDI quattro, A3 Sportback 1.9 TDI, RS4 Avant, A8 4.2 FSI V8 and the S8.

The A4 Cabriolet facelift will bring the current drop-top in line with the regular B7-series A4 range.



 center imageAll are designed to sustain consumer interest in a range that is either ageing (A4 – despite the substantial facelift this year) or maturing (A3, A6, A8).

In particular the ‘S’ and ‘RS’ range, sited in ascending order above the sporty ‘S-Line’ series available on the A4 and TT, are charged with boosting the desirability of all Audis.

Yet the most vital newcomer of 2006 for Audi will hit in the last quarter.

The long-awaited Q7, Audi’s first foray into the luxury four-wheel drive segment, is due in September 2006.

"It is the most important product we have ever had for Australia," says Mr Hofmann.

But the Audi boss believes that the day when his company’s sales equals that of BMW and Mercedes – who recorded 14,860 and 17,489 sales respectively in 2004 – is still far away.

"10 years is a more realistic (timeframe) to reach comparable volume," he says.

Nevertheless, to help get it there, Audi will release a used-car strategy next February that will be nationwide and factory-supported.

Mr Hofmann says that branding its second-hand vehicles should go some way in addressing the misconception that Audi cars have a lower resale value than its compatriots.

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