* China accounts for 1 out of every 3 Audis sold in Aug
* Audi sold just 2,110 fewer cars than BMW in Jan-Aug
* Audi aims to sell much more than 1.88 mln A3s over
(Adds details, background)
FRANKFURT, Sept 10 Volkswagen's
luxury brand Audi achieved record sales for the month of August,
delivering 14.9 percent more cars to customers versus the
previous year's month and further narrowing the gap to global
premium leader BMW.
China, Audi's single largest market, continued to power
demand for the marque, boosting volumes by 24 percent last month
and accounting for one out of three Audis sold worldwide.
In the first eight months of this year, Audi delivered
961,000 vehicles to customers for a gain of 12.7 percent --
putting it only 2,110 cars short of the total for the BMW brand
during the same period.
That translates on average to roughly 100 cars more that BMW
sells per working day.
While Audi and BMW fight it out for leadership of the
premium car market, Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand continues to
lag behind its two closest rivals. Its sales rose by 5.4 percent
to 841,567 cars during January to August.
Assuming their respective sales growth rates for the eight
months through August stay constant, the BMW brand would still
outsell Audi by some 20,000 cars this year.
Yet Audi's dominance in China and the European launch of its
high volume compact, the A3 hatchback, at the end of last month
could turn the tables in favour of the Ingolstadt-based unit of
In a statement on Monday, Audi Chief Executive Rupert
Stadler forecast sales of the new A3 over its entire lifecycle
would outstrip significantly the 1.877 million sold of the
This is of crucial importance to Volkswagen since the A3
will be one of the highest volume cars derived off its new MQB
development and production architecture, which also underpins
the new Golf and which should drastically reduce production
costs and manufacturing time.
"New models like the A3 and the refreshed Q5 (SUV model)
that also launches in the coming days, will strengthen Audi in
Europe even more," said Luca de Meo, the brand's new marketing
and sales chief since the beginning of the month.
(Reporting By Christiaan Hetzner)