Audi plans to double Middle East sales by 2020
DUBAI (Reuters) -- Audi plans to double its Middle East sales to at least 20,000 vehicles a year by 2020, helped by investment in showrooms and service centers, its local chief said.
"It is the minimum target. You have to have buildings, you have to have capacity," Trevor Hill, managing director of Audi Middle East, said on Monday following a presentation of the unit's 2012 sales in Dubai.
"Already those investments have been signed off, most of them have been made already ... So half the battle is already won [in] creating capacity and now we have to work in terms of volume improvement and in terms of quality," he added.
The Volkswagen Group brand, which posted a 16.4 percent sales jump to a record 9,155 units in the Middle East in 2012, aims to sell at least 10,000 vehicles in the region in 2013, Hill told the presentation.
Audi expects sales in the premium segment to surge by between 12 and 15 percent in the Middle East this year, while the overall passenger car market could see a rise of 6 to 8 percent from an estimated 1.1 to 1.2 million vehicles sold in 2012, Hill added.
Together with its local partners, Audi has seven major construction projects on the way, including showrooms and after-sales service facilities in the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar.
Unrest in the Arab world since early 2011 may have helped to boost Audi's sales in the UAE, its top market in the region, as the country benefited from its safe-haven status, drawing in businesses and expatriates.
"Dubai is growing quite rapidly so that will create a lot more opportunities for us to sell. There are a lot of wealthy people living in Dubai right now," Hill said.
The UAE made up 41 percent of Audi's total sales in the region, with 3,819 units sold in 2012, up 21.7 percent.
Saudi Arabia, the Gulf's biggest market for volume rather than premium passenger cars, followed with a 26 percent jump.
Audi, which has suspended operations in war-torn Syria, did not see sales being hit in neighboring Lebanon, and in Jordan, which has also seen social unrest. "We have not seen that much slowdown in Lebanon. Lebanon is hitting the targets, Jordan is hitting its targets, so there are no real spillovers for us in those markets," Hill said. "I think they [sales] will keep growing [this year]."
Audi expects to increase global annual sales of luxury cars and sport utility vehicles to 1.5 million earlier than the planned 2015 target date, CEO Rupert Stadler said this month. By 2020, the automaker plans to boost deliveries to more than 2 million as it aims to snatch leadership of the premium car market from rival BMW.
In 2012, Audi sold 1.45 million vehicles, behind the BMW brand with 1.54 million. The Mercedes-Benz brand was No. 3 with 1.32 million deliveries.Contact Automotive News