Volkswagen's luxury unit Audi has reported a record first half, with revenues and profits showing strong double digit growth, leading the company's chairman to predict an 11th consecutive record-breaking full year.

The company boosted revenue year on year by 16.8% to EUR15.454bn. Operating profit rose 22.4% to EUR733m. Profit before tax grew to EUR661m - an increase of 29.6%.

Audi's profit after tax of EUR407m was 35.7% up year on year.

Worldwide sales of the Audi brand were up 9.8% to 463,494 vehicles and vehicle production by 10.7% to 457,806 units. These, too, are record figures.

"Audi is continuing to grow, both quantitatively and qualitatively. We have made good progress along our course of profitable growth and, after this best six-month period in the company's history, we are well on the way to concluding the 11th consecutive record-breaking year in six months' time. In other words, we are all set to finish 2006 with new records not just for unit sales and production output, but also for the key financial figures," said Audi chairman Martin Winterkorn.

Finance board memeber Rupert Stadler added: "The substantial growth in earnings is due to the fact that we are selling significantly more vehicles with more exclusive specifications in vehicle segments higher up the range. Meanwhile, the ongoing measures to optimise processes and costs are bringing about a steady improvement in the quality of our earnings. We have a clear strategy: we are aiming to sell more vehicles, while at the same time achieving growth in terms of earnings."

"Our aim is to sell 50,000 vehicles more in 2006 than we did in the previous year, when we likewise set a new sales record," said Winterkorn.

In the first six months, Audi set sales records in eight different markets in Western Europe. These include Great Britain, with sales of 46,560 vehicles, up 3.2%, Italy (30,218, up 9.7%), Spain (30,188, up 5.3%), France (24,961, up 10.6%) and Belgium, 18,893, up 22.4%).

Audi achieved its biggest H1 growth in China (including Hong Kong): up 94.2% to 38,838 units. It also posted higher sales in the US: 40,455 vehicles, up 7.3%.

In eastern Europe, sales reached 13,800 vehicles, up 29.7% year on year. The largest individual market in the region was Russia where sales soared 51.8% to 4,124 units.

In Germany, however, Audi's biggest market, sales rose just 1.1% to 127,498.