Bloomberg News

Audi to Beat Mercedes in 2011 Sales as Demand Exceeds Targets

September 13, 2011

(See {SHOW <GO>} for more Frankfurt auto show news.)

Sept. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG’s Audi will beat Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz in 2011 deliveries as demand exceeds company targets, Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler said.

Audi will probably sell more than 1.3 million cars and sport-utility vehicles this year compared with a previous forecast of 1.2 million, Stadler told reporters today at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt.

“We’re looking at super order books, and order intake is also very reasonable,” Stadler said. “ Although there may be headwinds, we expect to keep growing in 2012.”

The VW unit has overtaken Mercedes in sales this year, and Stadler has a goal of outranking Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the luxury-car industry’s current leader, by 2015. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, who told employees in July that the company can’t settle for second or third place, said today he’s sticking to a target of 1.35 million sales in 2011. The figure includes the Mercedes luxury marque and the Smart two-seat car brand.

Audi, which has its headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, is introducing hybrid and “S” performance versions of its A6 and A8 models as well as the S7 four-door coupe at the Frankfurt show. It’s also unveiling an electric two-seat “Urban Concept” city car and a facelift of its A5 coupe.

Showcasing Models

BMW is showcasing new generations of the 1-Series compact and 6-Series coupe in Frankfurt. BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer said yesterday that as much as 40 percent of the Munich-based manufacturer’s fleet will be small cars in 10 years, with electric-powered vehicles accounting for 5 percent to 7 percent of annual sales by then.

Mercedes-Benz has a target of selling 1.5 million vehicles a year by 2014, Zetsche said yesterday at a press conference. The Stuttgart, Germany-based manufacturer aims to gain market share in 2012, when industrywide sales growth is likely to slow, and orders are “very strong,” he said today.

Daimler is in talks with closely held U.K. sports-car maker Aston Martin on cooperating on the German company’s ultra-luxury Maybach, the CEO also said. The brand, which was reintroduced in 2002, hasn’t met Daimler’s sales target of 1,000 cars a year, and only 200 were delivered last year.

Audi is counting on the first full year of sales in 2012 for the Q3 compact SUV, revamped A6 and the A1’s new 5-door variant to boost deliveries next year. Audi expects deliveries in China this year to top 300,000 for first time, it said today.

--With assistance from Chris Reiter in Frankfurt and Mariajose Vera in Munich. Editors: Tom Lavell, Marthe Fourcade.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andreas Cremer in Frankfurt via acremer@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net.


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