The FINANCIAL -- New record-breaking figure for the Four Rings: Audi concluded its best first quarter in the company’s history.
Between January and March the company sold around 463,800 automobiles worldwide, 9.8 percent more than in the same quarter last year. In particular, the high demand in China (+41.9%) and North America (+10.2%) drove growth in the first three months. In Europe, however, sales since January came in below the record-breaking level from 2017, down 4.7 percent. In March, the company delivered around 183,750 premium automobiles (+6.0%) worldwide.
“The record-breaking start to the year provides us with important momentum. With the Audi A7, A6, A1 and Q3 models, we will be renewing around a quarter of our sales in Europe alone throughout the year,” says Bram Schot, Board Member for Sales and Marketing at AUDI AG.
In China, Audi also closed the first quarter successfully. Here the company delivered 154,270 cars since January, an increase of 41.9 percent. In the past month, demand increased by 30.6 percent; the Ingolstadt-based automaker sold more automobiles in China than ever before in the month of March, delivering 54,031 units. The Audi A4 proved an important growth engine. The number of deliveries of the midsize model increased by 86.4 percent year-on-year to more than 13,800 cars. Since the start of the year more than 37,350 Chinese customers received their keys for an Audi A4 (+99.2%). The top seller is following this positive trend worldwide too, achieving growth of 15.3 percent to around 87,850 A4 models delivered in the period January through March, according to Volkswagen.
With sales down 5.8 percent in March, Europe is indicative of the complex ramp-up and discontinuation situation of the current model initiative. In Germany and the UK, Audi’s two largest European markets, deliveries were down on the very strong sales figures from 2017. In the domestic market, the premium brand delivered 28,247 automobiles (-9.0%) in March, which had less selling day than last year. In the UK, sales fell 2.9 percent year-on-year in the past month. In the first quarter, UK sales were on a par with the prior-year level, up 0.1 percent, and performed far more resiliently than the declining overall market. Demand in Spain (+11.3%) and Italy (+2.8%) also remained positive in the past month. In both markets, customer interest in the Audi Q5 held up since the start of the year. 1,618 Spanish customers (+51.5%) and 2,106 Italian buyers (+131.9%) opted for the SUV in the first quarter. Another positive result: In Austria Audi accomplished premium market leadership regarding car registrations between January and March.
On the North American continent, Audi also continued to grow in March, increasing sales by 8.3 percent to around 24,550 cars. With around 61,400 deliveries, the company posted growth of 10.2 percent year-on-year in the region since January. In Canada alone, Audi sold 3,404 units in March, continuing its double-digit sales growth of the past few months (+14.0%). Since January, around one in three Canadian Audi customers chose an Audi Q5. Audi of America achieved another record-breaking month, with sales up 7.4 percent to 20,090 units. The Q family once again contributed largely to this success. The SUV share in the United States is currently 52 percent, i.e. one out of every two Audi models sold in this market is a Q model. The Audi Q7 is proving popular. In the past month, one out of every three Audi Q7 models delivered went to an American customer. Across all models, cumulative sales are up 9.7 percent in the United States.