Audi could delay a decision on whether to build cars in the United States, where demand has dropped sharply, its CEO has said.

Audi is aiming to double US sales from an expected 100,000 units this year to 200,000 in the long term and get the ‘natural hedging’ benefit of a plant in the US, where German premium badge rivals Mercedes and BMW are already established.

However, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has said it was not yet certain whether the company would decide in early 2009 on whether to build its own cars in the United States.

Reuters reported that Stadler has repeatedly said he was looking into cooperation with parent Volkswagen to build vehicles in the United States, with a decision expected next year. Earlier this year he said the company would benefit “tremendously” from a US production site.

Stadler also said he was no longer certain whether Audi could reach a target of selling 200,000 cars a year in the United States by 2015, though this remained a long-term goal.

“We can judge whether 2015 and 200,000 units are still accurate in one or two years,” Stadler said.