Audi may match last year's operating profit of EUR5.35bn (US$7.08bn) in 2012 if there is no further deterioration in economic conditions according to chief financial officer Axel Strotbek.

He said that despite higher spending on new models, technologies and expanding its manufacturing footprint "we expect an operating result on the high level of last year provided that economic conditions don't change markedly".

Audi accounted for almost half of parent VW group's operating profit of EUR11.3bn last year. It sold a record 346,137 vehicles in the first quarter, up 10.8% year on year.