Audi hits record profitability, more growth to come


Volkswagen’s Audi AG premium unit enjoyed record profitability in 2007 and forecast further growth for this year in earnings, vehicle sales and revenue.

Pretax profit jumped by half to €2.915 billion ($4.48 billion) last year thanks to sales of high-priced cars like the new Audi A5 and Q7 sport utility vehicle, lifting its margin to 8.7% from 6.2% in 2006, Audi said on Tuesday. “This means that Audi is one of the most profitable companies in the international automotive industry today,” finance chief Axel Strotbek said in a statement. After posting its twelfth consecutive record year for vehicle sales and historic highs in all key financial figures in 2007, Audi plans to expand its product range to 40 models from 25 currently in order to sell 1.5 million cars in 2015. On the way, the company expects profits this year to grow in line with revenue and vehicle sales. Sales are expected to cross the 1 million mark thanks in part to the relaunch of its biggest volume model, the mid-size A4 saloon and estate.

More than 70,000 orders for the next-generation A4 saloon have already been made in the few months since its world premier, exceeding Audi’s expectations, and the A4 Avant estate version will be rolled out starting at the end of April. “The A4 (Avant) model changeover will presumably have a negative effect on our sales figures in March. From April onwards we expect to continue our usual growth rates,” CEO Rupert Stadler said. Sales rose 2.6% to 71,348 vehicles in February. (Reuters)



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