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Audi wants to be the world's top premium car brand

German luxury carmaker Audi AG chief Rupert Stadler laid out plans Wednesday to overtake rivals Mercedes Benz and BMW so as to become the world's leading premium auto brand.

„By 2015 Audi will be number one,” Stadler told Audi's annual general meeting in the German town of Neckarsulum. At the same time, the Audi chief said the car group could expect sales to hit 1.5 million in 2015 with the company hoping its sales will breach the key 1.0 million mark by cars by the end of 2008. This followed Audi's announcement that its Q1 sales raced ahead by 9.4% during the first four months of year with the Volkswagen AG luxury car offshoot saying that global sales jumped 9.2% to 84,736 in April. This compares to modest 0.5 rise in BMW brand sales in April which lifted deliveries of the world's leading luxury carmaker to 100,456. Mercedes Benz brand reported a 0.7% drop in sales to 90,600 in April. Helping to power Audi's global sales has been a solid growth in China's new burgeoning market, which is up more than 20% compared to last year. At the same time, Stadler said the carmaker was also focusing on India's rapidly developing auto market. Audi sales in India jumped 76% to 145 this year. Audi is to begin with a local assembly operation in India later this year. (