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July 23, 2020

Audi chief sees pre-COVID-19 sales only by 2022/23

Volkswagen Group luxury car unit Audi expects car sales to reach pre-COVID-19 levels only by 2022 or 2023, chief executive Markus Duesmann told a German business newspaper.

By Olly Wehring

Volkswagen Group luxury car unit Audi expects car sales to reach pre-COVID-19 levels only by 2022 or 2023, chief executive Markus Duesmann told a German business newspaper.

"We certainly expect the coronavirus crisis to have longer-term effects", Duesmann told Handelsblatt's Thursday edition according to a pre released version cited by the Reuters news agency.

"We have had a very difficult second quarter. Things are slowly picking up, but not as a sharp 'V' as one would wish for," he said, adding that some countries like China showed a strong rebound while other markets needed longer.

Audi is partly banking on rising demand for electric vehicles, benefiting from government incentives.

The carmaker is targeting 2020 sales of 40,000 E-tron branded cars after selling 17,000 in the first six months, Duesmann said.

He conceded Tesla (TSLA.O) has a significant technological lead in several areas, according to the reports.

"Currently, Tesla has larger batteries because their cars are built around the batteries. Tesla is two years ahead in terms of computing and software architecture, and in autonomous driving as well," he said.

Separately, according to Reuters, Handelsblatt reported Volkswagen sales chief Juergen Stackmann was leaving his post amid a broader management reshuffle at the VW Group which has seen Skoda head Bernhard Maier, Traton head Andreas Renschler, commercial vehicles head Thomas Sedran and software head Christian Senger step down.

Volkswagen declined to comment to the news agency. 

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