Audi Group has said that it ended the 2008 fiscal year with record breaking figures for production, vehicle deliveries, revenue and profit.
“With our 13th successive deliveries record, 2008 was the most successful fiscal year in the history of our company. We have been steadily improving our productivity in recent years, and the main financial figures for 2008 reflect this. These positive effects make it easier for us to respond appropriately to the crisis,” said Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG, at today’s Annual Press Conference in Ingolstadt.
However, the company warned that revenue in 2009 will likely decline along with vehicle sales and reported sales in the first two months of this year down 20.3% at 119,600 units.

It said earnings this year should be less affected by the cyclical fall in demand thanks to cost management and productivity gains.

“There remains no need for external sources of financing,” Audi said, adding that net liquidity would stay high after reaching EUR9.3bn at the end of 2008.

VW’s premium brand also said it will continue to invest around 2 billion euros each year, largely in new products, and said it would keep staffing levels roughly stable as it ramps up for long-term growth.

Operating profit improved by 2.5% to EUR2,772 million. Profit before tax reached an all-time high of EUR3,177m, 9% up on the previous year. Profit after tax was EUR2,207m, a rise of 30.4%.

Audi delivered 1,003,469 cars to customers in 2008 – 4.1% ahead of the previous year.

Audi also said it had a return on investment in 2008 of 19.8% and a return on sales before tax of 9.3% “This figure means the Audi Group is now one of the most profitable players in the international automotive industry, a particular advantage in a year in which the repercussions of the financial crisis were already very noticeable,” said Axel Strotbek, Member of the Board of Management for Finance and Organization.

Stadler also said that Audi would carefully assess all investments and costs that are not product-related, and prioritize.

“The 17 new models we launched last year were only possible thanks to the incredible dedication of our workforce,” emphasized Dr. Werner Widuckel, Member of the Board of Management for Human Resources.

“The market may be in crisis, but Audi is not. We are using short-time working to protect the jobs of our core workforce. And we stand by the ‘Audi’s Future’ agreement, which rules out any redundancies before 2011,” added Widuckel.

Over the next seven years the car manufacturer will be increasing its vehicle range from the current 28 models to 40. “We are standing by our existing goals. Audi has the potential to secure yet further growth by launching new model series, and also by working in existing markets more effectively. The new A1, which is set to diversify into a separate family of models, will help us achieve precisely that,” remarked Stadler.

“The response to the A1 studies shown at Tokyo in 2007 and Paris in 2008 was very encouraging. The A1 will enable us to tap into a new, attractive target group. With its typical Audi DNA, this car will round off our model range at the lower end and boost the appeal of the Audi brand particularly among younger customers,” he said.