Audi is stepping up the introduction of new models in China as it tries to head off rising competition from rival luxury carmakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Audi’s sales in the country increased by 44% to 226,000 units in 2010, while the overall luxury market expanded by 69% to close to 676,000 units – according to data released by the company.

Audi aims to maintain its status as the best-selling luxury car brand in the country with a strengthened product line up and expansion of its dealer network. 

Dominique Boesch, head of sales at FAW Volkswagen Automobile - its local manufacturing joint venture - said the company this year will introduce a revamped locally-made A6L, as well as new imported models including the A8, A7 and A1. Efforts to localise production of more models will be stepped up in the coming years and new models also will be introduced “more speedily”, he added. 

The company said it aims to lift annual sales to 1m units by the mid 2010s, sold through a dealer network of 500 outlets compared with 180 at present. Expansion will be focused mostly on China’s up and coming second tier cities.

Last year, the locally made A6 amounted to 111,000 units – or almost half total sales. The A4 and Q5 SUV accounted for a further 84,000 units. Local content is over 60%.