Audi is two years ahead of target, CEO Rupert Stadler told the 2014 AGM in Ingolstadt

Audi is two years ahead of target, CEO Rupert Stadler told the 2014 AGM in Ingolstadt

Audi has again reported record sales in 2013 and out-performed the market in every region, if not every country, in which it operates.

Yet there was also a cautionary note with a drop in profits compared with 2012.

The company's global sales reached 1.57m cars last year, a rise of 8.3% over 2012, helped greatly by the new A3 Sportback and saloon and the trio of SUVs (Q3, Q5 and Q7). Audi is now selling 600,000 cars a year more than at the start of the decade.

"We are two years ahead of our volume development targets," said CEO Rupert Stadler.

"And we made a very good start to 2014. In January and February we delivered 242,000 automobiles, surpassing the prior-year figure by 9.3%."

Europe remains the company's premier region, contributing 732,000 to the 2013 total - a rise of 5% in a market which, overall, was down.

Yet China is closing fast, with sales of 492,000, an increase of more than 20%. Audi - one of the first western car brands to enter China - will become the first premium brand to sell more than half a million cars in a single year there in 2014.

The improvement in the US was also significant - up 13.5% to 158,000, putting Audi well on course to achieve the annual target of 200,000, set by the VW group main board, within the next four years.

Finance director Axel Strotbek expects "a slight growth" in the overall market this year and an increase in revenues to more than EUR50bn for the first time - last year they were EUR49.9bn, up on the EUR48.7bn of 2012.

"We are investing even more in new products and technology - our future," said Strotbek. Some 70% of the investment will be on product and technology.

"At the end of 2013 we approved the biggest investment in our history. By 2018 we plan to invest a total of approximately EUR22bn," he added.

This is despite a drop of 6.2% in profits last year, from 2012's EUR5.3bn to just over EUR5bn. Strotbek pointed to several factors for this - down payments on new plant and equipment in Hungary, Mexico and Brazil, low interest rates, currency variations and the high investment in research and development, almost 8% of revenues.

Audi is pushing ahead with advancements in lightweight engineering (aluminium and carbon fibre bodies), lighting technology (matrix LED and laser beam headlights), connectivity (deals with Google and Apple) and autonomous driving (available at speeds up to 37mph by the end of the decade) while attempting to a achieve big fuel consumption and emissions reductions through developments to combustion engines and electrified drivetrains.

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Audi Annual Press Conference: 
Following record deliveries in 2013 
further growth for 2014

  • Audi Group in 2013 at a glance: A total of approx. 1.575 million Audi brand cars delivered, € 49.9 billion revenue, € 5.030 billion operating profit, and 10.1 percent operating return on sales.
  • CEO Rupert Stadler: “2013 was an extraordinary year and we remain on course for success in 2014.”
  • Audi continues to hire in 2014

Picture: Production Audi Q5, Ingolstadt site
Picture: Production Audi Q5, Ingolstadt site

The Audi Group continues to pursue its strategic goals systematically. The Company delivered a strong set of figures for fiscal 2013: With around 1.575 million cars of the Audi brand delivered, the Ingolstadt carmaker achieved new record sales and reached the target that it had set itself for 2015 – more than 1.5 million deliveries – two years earlier than planned. Meanwhile the Audi Group increased its revenue to € 49.9 billion and again achieved an operating profit of more than € 5 billion. The operating return on sales for 2013 as a whole came to 10.1 percent, which is slightly above the strategic target corridor of eight to ten percent. The Company intends to maintain its growth in future, and between now and 2018 will be investing around € 22 billion in innovations and new technologies as well as in expanding its worldwide manufacturing structures. In Germany alone, this year the brand with the four rings will be taking on 1,500 new employees and offering apprenticeships to 750 young people.

Audi today presents all its key figures for the 2013 fiscal year at the Annual Press Conference, taking place at its headquarters in Ingolstadt. The Board of Management of AUDI AG also gives its outlook for 2014. In front of more than 300 international journalists, Audi boss Rupert Stadler will declare: “2013 was an extraordinary year and we also remain on course for success in 2014. The past twelve months have seen us embark on a huge globalization drive in opening new plants in Hungary and China, as well as preparing for local production operations in Mexico and Brazil. The new A3 family* is proving very popular with our customers, as are our SUV models in the Q car line.” The Company successfully maintained its product initiative. Having launched 15 new models and derivative versions in 2013, the brand with the four rings will be launching 17 new cars in 2014 alone.

Last year, Audi achieved a strong set of figures despite the overall decline in car sales in Europe: For example, the Company delivered 1,575,480 (2012: 1,455,123) cars of the Audi brand to customers worldwide – a year-on-year increase of 8.3 percent. 2013 saw the Audi Group increase its revenue to € 49.880 (2012: 48.771) billion. This represented a further increase of 2.3 percent on the previous year’s high level, despite negative exchange effects.

In view of increasing research and development costs for new products and technologies, intensive advance payments for systematically expanding the international production network and also the challenging market environment, above all in Europe, the operating profit was below the previous year’s high level, at € 5.030 (2012: 5.365) billion. The operating return on sales of 10.1 (2012: 11.0) percent was just above the strategic target corridor of eight to ten percent.

Distribution costs for the Audi Group merely edged up to € 4.641 (2012: 4.594) billion in fiscal 2013. The financial result for the past fiscal year of € 293 (2012: 586) million was down on the previous year’s level. The Audi Group thus achieved a profit before tax of € 5.323 (2012: 5.951) billion for fiscal year 2013.

In his speech, Axel Strotbek, Member of the Board of Management for Finance and Organization at AUDI AG, spotlights the Company’s high profitability: “With 10.1 percent operating return on sales we exceeded our strategic corridor once more.” Besides the aforementioned operating return on sales, the Audi Group achieved a return on sales before tax of 10.7 (2012: 12.2) percent in the 2013 fiscal year.

The past fiscal year saw the Company invest ten percent more than in the year before that – in all, more than € 3.5 billion. Until 2018 the Audi Group is planning total capital investments amounting to some € 22 billion. The focus is on new innovations and technologies. The Company’s goal remains to finance all investment spending from operating cash flow, which in 2013 reached € 3.2 billion disregarding changes in participations, despite the record capital investments – that is a substantial increase on the prior-year € 2.9 billion.

The year-end position saw the Audi Group having increased its net liquidity to € 14.716 (2012: 13.396) billion. The Company’s equity ratio at the balance sheet date was 41.1 (2012: 37.4) percent.

The high capital investments of recent years are already beginning to bear fruit. One week ago, Audi presented the new Audi TT* to the world’s public at the Geneva Motor Show. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development at AUDI AG, describes the latest Audi in the following terms: “The third generation of the Audi TT encapsulates everything that Audi is about. Impressive sportiness, sophisticated design and pioneering efficiency.” In respect of the Company’s strategy, the development chief says: “Our goal is holistic carbon-neutral mobility based on emotional, performance-oriented models.” This explains Audi’s desire to extend its technical lead in all efficiency disciplines. In this connection, Hackenberg mentions the new A3 family*, which will be launched on the market this year with highly efficient ultra, e-tron and g-tron models. And another chapter is set to be added to the success story of the highly supercharged direct-injection engines. Audi is developing its TDI engines into sporty, high-performance power units without compromising their efficiency and low-emission credentials in any way. Meanwhile Audi has raised the power output per liter of its TFSI engines to 210 hp (155 kW). “Such figures would have been worthy of a Le Mans victory as recently as a couple of years ago,” added Ulrich Hackenberg. In his address, the development chief also praised the more than 10,000 engineers worldwide who will continue to maintain the Company’s Vorsprung durch Technik in the future.

Only with a strong team can the Company achieve its goals. The Audi Board of Management is consequently using the Annual Press Conference as an opportunity to thank all employees for their huge commitment. AUDI AG will again be sharing the success of the past fiscal year with its employees: Pay-scale employees at the German locations will receive a profit share averaging € 6,900. The Company moreover continues to recruit more people: In Germany alone, this year the brand with the four rings will be taking on 1,500 new employees and offering apprenticeships to 750 young people. 1,000 new employees will also be hired in Mexico in the course of the year.

The Audi Group aims to grow in every region of the world in 2014, including Europe. Depending on the wider economic environment, the brand with the four rings expects a slight increase in revenue to more than € 50 billion in fiscal 2014.

The systematic expansion of its international manufacturing structures and the rising advance payments needed for new models and technologies – in particular to comply with tougher CO2 regulations worldwide – will initially have a negative impact on profit in the current fiscal year. At the same time, the positive trend in deliveries and revenue as well as ongoing productivity and process improvements already implemented will impact our operating profit positively. Overall, the Ingolstadt carmaker expects the operating return on sales to lie within its strategic target corridor of eight to ten percent.

Fuel consumption of the models named above:

Audi A3: 
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7 – 3.2; 
Combined CO2-emissions in g/km: 162 - 85

Audi TT: 
This car is not yet on sale. It has not yet been homologated and is therefore not subject to the 1999/94/EG guideline. 
Provisional data: 
Combined fuel consumption in l/100 km: 7.1 – 4.2; 
Combined CO2-emissions in g/km: 164 - 110

Original source: Audi AG