When I did my first work for Audi in the 70s, competing with BMW or (gasp) Mercedes-Benz was considered a cruel joke. The brand was thought ideal for high school teachers or tax collectors, who kept their hats on while driving. What a difference a few decades make. Not to forget the money a rich sugar daddy called Volkswagen can sink into the brand.
Audi CFO Axel Strotbek told the German Handelsblatt that VW will pour €7.3b into Audi, from now to 2012. “80 percent is earmarked for developing new product,” Strotbek said. The money will go to a noble cause:
By 2015, Audi wants to be the world’s leading premium brand. That target is not overly ambitious, but ambitious nonetheless. In 2008, Audi sold slightly above 1m units, Mercedes sold 1.3m, and BMW 1.4m.
This year was harsh on anything that has “Premium” attached to it. But Audi seems to weather the storm better than the competition. Audi will close out the year over target (925000 units.) Audi wants to have a gross profit margin of more than 5r percent of revenue this year. Daimler will probably be in the reds, BMW will be lucky with a big black zero. Audi profits from its solid standing in China’s booming market. This year, they will sell 150,000 Audis in China, 2012/13 they want to raise that to 250,000 units. This will make China Audi’s most important market. Different in the U.S.A. Here, BMW and Mercedes sell three times the volume of Audi.