Volkswagen‘s premium Audi brand notched up a 13% rise in vehicle sales in March despite the lack of its key 2004 model launches, according to Reuters.

Audi reportedly said it sold 82,000 units in March this year, up from 72,700 in 2003, and over 80,000 in a single month for the first time in the company’s history.

For the entire first quarter, unit sales rose 8.3% compared to the previous year, to more than 191,000 vehicles, the report said.

“We are very pleased with those numbers, in particular considering that we achieved this record although the new Audi A6 and A3 sportback – our most important new models for this year – still were not launched on the market,” chief executive Martin Winterkorn said in a statement cited by Reuters, which noted that the A6 is due in showrooms on April 23, while the A3 should reach the market around autumn.

Audi reiterated its forecast of record vehicle sales for the current year. Although it is targeting record unit sales, Winterkorn said in late February that full-year earnings will be stagnant in 2004, Reuters said.