Audi is planning five regional sales offices in China, according to dpa-AFX news. The first of these five, covering South China, has been opened in Guangzhou.

The office is responsible for sales of Audi cars produced in China as well as imports and will coordinate 30 Audi dealerships in sales and marketing, public relations, after sales, dealer training and development, and fleet sales.

The other four regional offices will be opened by the end of October in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Changchun.

"The new regional office in southern China is a milestone for Audi's sales organisation. It brings us closer to our dealers and our customers," said Werner Eichhorn, managing director for Audi in China.

Eichhorn has also been celebrating Audi's sucess in the JD Power customer and sales satisfaction sutdies for 2006. Audi ranked first in the company's Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study and in the 'Service' category of the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study.

In the first eight months of this year Audi has delivered 52,590 cars to customers in China (including Hong Kong), up 71.5% on a year earlier. The A6, produced in China  and modified for the Chinese market, was the best-selling model, with sales of 38,979 units. According to Audi, this makes it the best-selling premium car in China.

DaimlerChrysler is also looking closely at the premium car market in China. Board member Ruediger Grube told a conference in Singapore today that he is expecting the market to expand by 150,000 units to around 400,000 cars in the next three years.

He said the world market for premium cars would approach 4.5m units by 2010, reported dpa-AFX news.