German carmaker Audi AG’s China sales will surpass 300,000 vehicles this year as it continues to consolidate its two-decade reign in the luxury segment of the world’s largest auto market, according to the company’s sales chief in China.
Dominique Boesch, general manager of the Audi sales division at Sino-German joint venture FAW Volkswagen Automobile Co Ltd, said in an interview that the premium brand’s sales of more than 300,000 vehicles this year is “a clear direction” toward its target of moving 1 million units in the country from 2011 to 2013.
In the first 10 months of this year, Audi’s sales in China surged by 32 percent year-on-year to 251,116 units, topping 225,588 units for the all of last year, Boesch said.
China sales of its German counterpart BMW increased 44.5 percent to 195,868 vehicles in the same period, while Mercedes-Benz, the third-largest premium carmaker in China, moved 156,635 vehicles, a 36 percent rise compared with a year ago.
At the Guangzhou auto show that closes today, Audi displayed a slew of new models, including the A7 Sportback coupe, R8 China Limited Edition and the e-tron pure electric concept car.
The A7 Sportback priced between 728,000 yuan and 958,000 yuan has two engine options: the 2.8-liter FSI with maximum output of 150kW and top torque of 280 Nm, and the 3.0-liter TFSI that has peak power of 220kW and maximum torque of 440Nm. The S tronic automatic transmission and quattro four-wheel-drive system are standard for the model.
The car with the 3.0-liter engine can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 5.6 seconds and to the top speed of 250km/h.
Boesch said the A7 is for “family and lifestyle” – a positioning different from the A6 and A8 for high-ranking officials and executives.
“Chinese customer demands for Audi have been shifting from business orientation to personalized need,” he said.
The R8 China Limited Edition had its global debut at the Guangzhou auto show with a sticker price of 2.63 million yuan.
Only 30 of the limited edition racecar are on sale in China. It is equipped with a 5.2-liter V10 engine. The powerhouse has maximum output of 386 kW and peak torque of 530 Nm. Smooth gear shifting within 0.1 seconds is ensured by an R tronic automatic transmission.
Acceleration from zero to 100 km/h only requires 3.9 seconds. Top speed of the car is 316 km/h. The advanced powertrain and lightweight body improve fuel efficiency for the limited edition R8, which consumes 15.2 liters of fuel every 100 km.
“I’m reasonably confident about growth of the premium segment in China next year, although there are some negative factors, such as oil price hikes and car purchase restrictions in some cities,” Boesch said.
He stressed that luxury cars only account for 7 percent of China’s overall passenger car market, much lower than 10-20 percent in Western markets.
Audi announced earlier this year that it plans to more than double its annual production in China to 700,000 units by 2015.
FAW Volkswagen, the joint venture based in the northeastern city of Changchun, now builds the Audi A6 and A4 sedans as well as the Q5 sports utility vehicles.