Audi's first-half sales rise 11% on strong A3 demand

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FRANKFURT -- Audi said global sales in the first six months rose 11 percent to a record 869,350 vehicles thanks to strong demand for the compact A3 range.

June deliveries rose 11 percent to 155,450 cars, the carmaker said in a statement, its sixth double-digit percentage rise in seven months.

"In the first half of this year we have already delivered more cars than in the whole of 2005… We will carry forward the momentum from the first half of the year into the second half," Audi sales chief Luca de Meo said in today's statement.

The automaker said global sales of the new A3 family increased by 49 percent to around 144,750 through June, helped by the introduction of the A3 sedan to the U.S. market in April.

Audi's Europe sales rose 7 percent in the first half to 410,050, while in China, the carmaker’s biggest single market, deliveries rose 18 percent to 268,666 in the same period, helped by the popularity of the Q3 SUV, whose sales rose 61 percent to 7,149 units last month.

In Germany, sales rose 9 percent to 140,003 through June, while in the United States, registrations rose 14 percent to 84,349. In Audi’s No. 4 market, the UK, sales rose 13 percent to 83,357.

Audi is aiming to exceed last year's record 1.58 million sales this year, while rival BMW is pushing to increase brand deliveries of 1.66 million in 2013. The Mercedes-Benz brand sold 1.46 million last year and is aiming to pass No. 2 Audi and knock BMW off its position as the world’s best-selling premium brand.

Analysts say the strongest sales momentum now rests with Mercedes this year, which is benefiting from a spate of redesigned and new models such as the A class, B class and the GLA and CLA compacts.

On Friday, Mercedes said brand sales rose 13 percent to 783,520 in the first six months. In June, registrations rose 8 percent to 142,136.

BMW Group has yet to release brand sales for June and the first half.

Reuters contributed to this report

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