Audi sold almost 80,000 cars worldwide in February, up 19.9% year on year. Sales for the first two months of 2010 rose 28%.

Chinese sales of about 15,000 cars was up 61.7% and year to date volume up 86%. US sales rose 33.6% to 6,216 cars, with YTD colume up 35.7% for the year to date.

In western Europe, February sales rose 6% to 43,127 units while YTD sales were up 12.1%.

“We are on course for a strong first quarter,” said Audi marketing and sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer. “That is mainly thanks to our leading position in China and western Europe. But the brand is also performing very well in the US.”

Meanwhile, Audi reported a fall in 2009 operating profit from EUR2.7bn (US$3.7bn) in 2008 to EUR1.6bn.

The company said a 10% distribution to staff in May would work out at EUR930 each.

General works council chief Peter Mosch, said: “It was an easy choice for the works council. The team’s dedication and motivation to perform, and particularly its flexibility, have paid off during the past year.

“The board of management decided to reward the tremendous efforts of its employees with a special bonus of EUR1,200 each in addition to the profit-sharing payment.”