Volkswagen Group’s Audi brand delivered 320,276 cars in the third quarter of 2011, up 16.7% year on year. Revenue rose to EUR10.9bn from EUR8.4bn and operating profit was a record EUR1.4bn (EUR0.9bn in Q3 2010), an operating return on sales of 13.1% vs 11.1% last year.

Nine-month deliveries (January to September) rose 17.4% to a record 973,211 cars.

Improved model mix boosted nine-month revenue 24.6% to EUR32.4bn while operating profit was up a whopping 74.4% to EUR3.96bn. Operating return on sales was 12.2% vs 8.7% at the same point in 2010.

“After nine months we have already exceeded the operating profit for the whole of 2010,” said board finance chief Axel Strotbek. He said Europe, China and the US were the foundation of this strong performance.

Nine-month European sales rose 12.3% to 551,981 units as redesigned A6 and new A1 models drove additional growth.

US sales were up 15.5% to 84,981 cars and record volume is forecast for full year 2011.

Chinese sales rose 29.2% to 226,010, in line with Audi’s plan to shift over 300,000 cars there this year. Audi noted that the proportion of imported vehicles such as the A8 and the Q7 “increased significantly” – the Q5 crossover and China-only long-wheelbase versions of the A4 and A6 are produced locally in Changchun.

“The market introduction of the A1 and A7 Sportback is expected to boost this trend in the fourth quarter and further strengthen the Audi brand’s leading position,” the automaker said.