Audi cov­ets top spot

Audi is on track to beat its pres­tige com­peti­tors, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

AUDI plans to be Aus­tralia’s No.1 pres­tige brand by the end of 2015 with sales of more than 15,000 cars a year. rush of new mod­els in re­cent years has en­sured a solid run of dou­bledigit growth, in­clud­ing a 12 per cent im­prove­ment in show­room re­sults in the first half of this year at a time when the pres­tige seg­ment is down 12 per cent.

The Ger­man brand aims for 10,000 sales this year de­spite the global eco­nomic cri­sis, and says Aus­tralians are flock­ing to Audi.

‘‘We are al­ready ahead of tar­get,’’ Audi Aus­tralia manag­ing di­rec­tor Jo­erg Hof­mann says.

‘‘In 2004, the Audi fran­chise was cer­tainly not the most at­trac­tive one. We were 20th, 24th, 18th . . . now we are No.1 or No.2.

‘‘If we crack 10,000 this year, which I be­lieve we will, then it is very un­likely we will get an­other year of 30 per cent growth be­cause the base gets higher and higher. But we will have an­other record year next year. I’m very con­fi­dent.’’

Audi must pass BMW and Mercedes-Benz to hit the tar­get, but Hof­mann says there are signs of worry in the ri­val camps.

‘‘Th­ese peo­ple they are bit des­per­ate some­times, they can’t un­der­stand why we are so suc­cess­ful,’’ he says.

‘‘Fair enough, we can smile about it be­cause we over­take them all very soon. They start throw­ing dirt and say we dis­count and what­ever kind of crap comes to their mind. I’m bored about it. We just move on and in two or three years we are ahead of all of them.’’

The Audi model rush con­tin­ues this year with the ar­rival of the TT RS coupe in Oc­to­ber, with a 2.5-litre turbo en­gine and 250kW, and a V12 diesel ver­sion of the gi­ant Q7 SUV.

Novem­ber will bring an S5 cabri­o­let with a su­per­charged V6 en­gine, fol­lowed by the five-door A5 sport­back hatch early next year.

‘‘Audi has al­ways had great prod­ucts, even five or six years ago,’’ Hof­mann says.

‘‘The prob­lem was the brand was not per­ceived the way it should be. The mar­ket­ing was wrong, the deal­er­ship was wrong, the or­gan­is­ing of the peo­ple was wrong. Th­ese are the fac­tors we fixed when we took over the busi­ness here.’’

Hof­mann says Audi will con­tinue to post record sales this year and next.

It is also solidly back in the black af­ter years of losses. Hof­mann says the lat­est fi­nan­cial re­sult is $1.7 mil­lion ahead of bud­get.

‘‘We reached break-even two years ear­lier than an­tic­i­pated. And for the past two years we have been on a solid, prof­itable path.

‘‘We will have the most prof­itable year this year. We achieve our fi­nan­cial bud­get to Ger­many by more than mil­lion.’’

Hof­mann’s fore­cast comes as the brand’s gi­ant $50 mil­lion Light­house head­quar­ters was of­fi­cially opened in Syd­ney.

The eight-storey com­plex houses ev­ery­thing from the brand head­quar­ters to a deal­er­ship and ‘‘per­for­mance space’’ for artists.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.