Audi Overtakes Mercedes, Rolls In Money

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
audi overtakes mercedes rolls in money

The European malaise seems to have selective impact on European automakers. Audi announced record results today. Audi reported an operating profit of €5.35 billion ($7.16 billion) in 2011, and wants to have even better results this year.

Don’t mention Audi when you talk to Mercedes managers. Audi sold 1.3 million cars last year, and now is the world’s second largest maker of premium cars, behind BMW. Mercedes-Benz was relegated to the #3 position.

Audi’s operating margin was a monstrous 12.1 percent last year. Mercedes-Benz used to be proud of their 9 percent. “These numbers turn Audi into one of the world’s most profitable car companies,” Audi CFO Axel Strotbeck told Automobilwoche [sub].

With 313.036 units sold (+37 percent,) China is Audi’s largest market, before Audi’s home market Germany (254.011 units, up 10.8 percent.) Audi chief Rupert Stadler is unimpressed by news that China might stop government purchases of foreign cars. Only 10 percent of Audi’s sales in China are government sales.

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13 of 19 comments
  • Tstag Tstag on Mar 01, 2012

    As impressive as that is I think Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) will be laughing at both Mercedes and Audi. You see according to Autocar JLR are achieving profit margins of 20%. Which means their margins are (as far as Autocars are aware) the biggest in the sector. Bigger even than Porsche. JLR made a profit of over 1.2 billion pounds last year on (if memory serves me right) less than 300,000 units. Beat that!

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    • Th009 Th009 on Mar 01, 2012

      @Fusion Exactly. 15% full-year EBITDA margin in 2010-2011 for JLR. But deduct depreciation to make it comparable to the operating margin, and it drops to about 11.1%. Definitely not Porsche margins and not even quite Audi margins. And that's in spite of them currently not selling anything even close to the price of an A1, A3, A4 or Q5.

  • Hubcap Hubcap on Mar 01, 2012

    Let's not forget that MB is the number one manufacturer of semi trucks in the world. VW and Lexus have advantages in regards to platform sharing but MB also has a huge advantage. It also sells vehicles that aren't subject to the design whims of fickle consumers. I don't know what the average profit on a semi is but I'm reasonably sure its more than a car. That combined with much lower marketing/advertising costs, streamlined production processes and having businesses and governments as customers, not the general population, must be taken into account. I'll take selling semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles over cars any day. Especially the high end exotics in VW's portfolio. Mercedes might be losing this battle but they're winning the war (and Honda is kinda in the same position--car business is somewhat slipping *but* they produce much more than cars).

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    • CRConrad CRConrad on Mar 05, 2012

      @Dimwit And Scania.

  • Saracen Saracen on Mar 01, 2012

    So, Audi sets record breaking profits, yet still can't justify bringing American Audi enthusiasts the models we want...

    • CJinSD CJinSD on Mar 01, 2012

      Well, the article did say that their two biggest markets are China and Germany.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Mar 04, 2012

    20%? Why not. Someone in this world has to part stupid people with their money. It is called redistribution of wealth.