VW Group premium brand Audi says it will launch several electric cars before 2020 and will also accelerate the development of self-driving vehicles.
The brand plans to launch three battery-electric models by the year 2020 and to electrify additional model series after that. As part of its electric initiative, Audi says it has already trained more than 6,000 employees to work with high-voltage technology over the past three years.
At an annual results press conference at Ingolstadt, the company reported growth in car deliveries and revenue for 2016. The Audi Group’s revenue increased to €59.3 billion in 2016 and its operating return on sales before special items was 8.2 percent. The company recognised provisions totalling €1.8 billion for the resolution of the V6 3.0 TDI diesel issue and in connection with Takata airbag recalls. After these special items, operating profit amounted to €3.1 billion, resulting in an operating return on sales of 5.1 percent.
“2016 was a very challenging year for our company,” stated Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, at the Annual Press Conference this Wednesday, “but we completed it with robust earnings from our core business and set our course for the future.”
Last year, Audi increased its worldwide deliveries by 3.6 percent to the new record of 1,867,738 automobiles (2015: 1,803,246). Audi said overall sales benefited from strong demand for the Audi Q7 and A4 models.
Audi also said it is accelerating the development of technology for self-driving cars. A newly founded subsidiary, Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH in Munich, is working on a system for autonomous vehicles in cities. Audi said the technology is to be applicable in the models of various brands and is also a key component of mobility services conceivable for the future, such as robot taxis. The company is open to cooperation with further strong partners in the automotive and IT sectors.
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At the same time, Audi is further developing assisted and piloted systems for other traffic situations, such as on highways or country roads. In the new Audi A8, customers will for the first time be able to use Level 3 automated driving functions in traffic jams at speeds up to 60 km/h.
In addition to the launch of the Audi A8, Audi said new generations of important volume models such as the Q5 and A5 will successively be launched into the markets in 2017. The Audi Q2 will become available in additional international markets, Audi said. In 2018, Audi plans to strengthen its top-end lineup with the second generation of the Audi A7. In the same year, the Audi Q8 will launch. The Audi Q4, a sporty compact utility vehicle, is planned for 2019.