Audi to make 60 models by 2020

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After the best first quarter in the company’s history, Audi is looking to topple sales records in markets worldwide as the German brand continues its torrid pace to the top of the luxury league.

The automaker says it plans to set new records in 2015 as more than 591,000 units delivered globally through to April has it well on its way to surpass its record unit sales of 1.74 million set in 2014.

“We intend to continue growing this year – faster than the world market and in all regions,” company CEO Rupert Stadler told the gathering at the 126th annual general meeting of AUDI AG in Neckarsulm, Germany in May.

“Our brand aims to set new records.”

Hitting the volume targets will be made easier with the launch of the new A4 later this year and the addition of the new Q7.

In order to attract new customers to the Audi brand, the company says it plans to systematically expand its model range in the coming years. By 2020, 60 different models will be on offer, including three additional members of the Q family – Q1, Q8 and a sporty SUV with electric drive in the upper mid-segment.

The boisterous sales talk comes on the heels of a record investment program that will see the luxury line spend roughly $33 billion through 2019 to develop further models, innovative technologies and to expand its international production network.

Worldwide unit sales from January through April rose by 5.2 per cent while key financial metrics remained at a high level over the same time frame. For the period of January through March, the Ingolstadt based manufacturer posted revenue of more than $19 million.

The fanfare didn’t stop as Audi noted the work in new technologies remains a positive point.

Last October saw an Audi RS 7 concept doing laps at the Grand Prix racetrack in Hockenheim – without a driver and at speeds up to 240 km/h. And in early January, Audi sent handpicked journalists on a 900 km journey in regular traffic in an Audi driving in piloted mode.

“We have clearly underscored our technological leadership in the premium segment. Piloted driving by Audi will ensure more safety, more comfort and more efficiency.”

The new Audi Q7, set for European launch in the second half of the year, will feature a “preliminary stage” of piloted driving with adaptive cruise control and the traffic jam assistant.

Adaptive cruise control maintains the desired distance between the Q7 and the vehicle in front by accelerating and braking automatically. The system, in an advanced state of development, also takes over the steering in situations of heavy traffic and at speeds up to 65 km/h.

Orders received for the new Audi Q7 already exceed the company’s expectations.

One challenge is the economy as key currencies are volatile in 2015. At the same time, advance expenditure is growing for new production capacity, innovative technologies and attractive products.

Still, executives said Audi’s revenue would rise moderately this year, depending on the economic conditions, with an operating return on sales of eight to 10 per cent.

Closer to home, Audi Canada revealed it has appointed Daniel Weissland as its new president succeeding Wolfgang Hoffmann who has completed his three-year foreign assignment.

Weissland was previously the sales director for Southern Europe.