Audi looks to China for sales records as price war brews
German luxury car maker Audi, owned by Volkswagen, said Friday it was aiming for record sales this year with help from China where a price war might be brewing with rivals BMW and Daimler.
Audi is targeting sales of "more than 200,000 units in 2010" in China and "around 300,000 in 2012," sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer told a telephone news conference.
Last year, Audi sold 159,000 vehicles in China, where VW is firmly implanted, a figure that represented 17 percent of all deliveries.
Now the biggest car market in the world, China has been good to German luxury car makers but a price war might be on the horizon there.
Echoing comments made by Daimler, Audi said that "some manufacturers have started more aggressive pricing in China."
On Tuesday, Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche said its Mercedes-Benz brand would not cut prices to gain a bigger slice of the market.
Globally, Audi said it wants to top its 2008 record of one million vehicles sold, which would represent a gain of 13.7 percent from the 2009 level.
In the United States, where it trails BMW and Mercedes Benz, Audi hopes to sell more than 100,000 autos this year.
The German car maker also expects to make a full-year operating profit margin on the order of 7.6 percent, the level it reached in first half of 2010.
Audi confirmed its position as VW's leading breadwinner in the first six months of the year, contributing an operating profit of €1.3 billion.