Best-ever opening quarter for Audi with around 369,500 deliveries

AUDI AG has enjoyed the strongest first quarter in its history: With worldwide deliveries reaching around 369,500 units for January through March, the company improved on the prior-year quarter by 6.8 percent. In this period, the automotive manufacturer achieved growth in all of its three main sales regions Europe, Asia and North America. Unit sales in March played a major role in this respect. Audi handed over around 147,700 cars to customers – 3.0 percent more than one year earlier. This made the past month the strongest March ever for the Ingolstadt-based manufacturer.

“Building on the first quarter’s record deliveries, we want to continue this positive sales trend over the next months, too”, says Luca de Meo, Member of the Board of Management for Sales and Marketing at AUDI AG. “The new A3 Sportback will also contribute to this goal. It was successfully introduced in the first markets in February and we are very pleased with the response from the dealerships.”

Especially the A1 Sportback, the A4 family and the SUV models provided further boost in the first quarter of 2013. Worldwide sales of the compact SUV Q3 gained 58.2 percent year on year to around 28,550 units, the Q5 grew by 15.6 percent to some 56,350 units.

These models also strengthened the Ingolstadt carmaker’s business in the European market. Despite the challenging economic environment, Audi achieved a slight increase in deliveries in Europe compared with the first quarter of 2012. Around 187,600 cars (+0.7%) were handed over to their new owners. In Germany, the sales total for the month of March (24,701 units) was slightly down by 1.7 percent on the previous year. Over the first three months of the year, Audi reported 59,116 cars sold on its home market, representing a growth rate of 2.0 percent. The most important model remained the A4 Avant. 11,077 customers were handed the keys to their new midsize car between January and March. Also in its second-largest market in Europe, the company ended the quarter with a positive comparison to the previous year. In the UK, sales climbed 9.7 percent to 39,242 units. March results also showed growth, with Audi exceeding the strong prior-year month yet again by 8.0 percent (24,913 units).

The markets in Eastern Europe continued to serve up steady growth over January through March (around 14,000 units, +9.1%). Especially Russia – total deliveries of 8,278 units represented a growth of 15.4 percent. There, the most popular models with the four rings are the Q3 and Q5. These two SUV models accounted for 48 percent of Audi sales in Russia in the first quarter.

The market conditions remained tight in Southern Europe. In Italy, Audi’s unit sales decreased by 6.4 percent to 12,096 units in the first three months of 2013, and in France by 8.4 percent to 14,542 units. In Spain however, deliveries increased slightly by 0.6 percent on the prior-year quarter, with 10,897 cars sold.

AUDI AG ended the first quarter with a record-breaking start to the year in the United States, too. The success story of the previous months continued in March. Demand for the Ingolstadt manufacturer’s models climbed 14.4 percent to 13,253 cars. In total, Audi delivered 34,186 cars in the United States in the first three months, a gain of 16.0 percent. Growth was particularly driven by the Q5 and Q7 SUV models, which grew by 37.3 percent and 48.4 percent respectively. The company’s flagship model also gained considerably, sales of the A8 rose by 37.3 percent in the first quarter. The model’s diesel version will be appearing in April, signaling the next step in Audi’s successful TDI drive in the US. The A8 TDI will be joined by diesel versions of the A6, A7 and Q5 over the course of 2013. Further countries in the Americas enjoyed double-digit growth in first-quarter deliveries, too. In Mexico, for instance, Audi grew by 48.6 percent to 2,609 units and in Brazil by 11.1 percent to 1,157 units.

In Audi’s biggest sales market, in China, the four rings exceeded the threshold of 100,000 units after only three months for the first time in the brand’s 25 years in that market. In the first quarter, 102,810 cars were handed over to Audi customers, a gain of 14.2 percent. In March, the rise was at 10.7 percent to 34,864 units. Between January and March, the A6 L further underscored its position as the most successful business sedan in the Chinese premium segment. Sales of 36,489 units represent an increase of 36.7 percent. In the coming months, two important market launches will further boost Audi’s business in China. The locally produced Q3 will be arriving at the dealerships these days, followed shortly by the new generation of the Q5.

Audi also enjoyed a strong first quarter in the entire Asia-Pacific region with around 124,200 cars delivered and a growth rate of 14.9 percent. Various markets contributed to this progress, like South Korea, where sales were up 31.1 percent. In Japan, sales grew by 17.4 percent between January and March, sales in India advanced by 15.3 percent.