BERLIN (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG's Audi luxury division maintained its goal of posting higher sales and earnings this year after first-quarter profit rose by a third.
Operating profit gained 32 percent to 478 million euros ($632 million) in the first quarter, the carmaker said today in a statement. Sales climbed 23 percent to 8.3 billion euros.
“First-quarter results provide a sound basis for our goal to exceed last year's sales and operating-profit levels,” Audi Chief Financial Officer Axel Strotbek said in the statement.
Audi has a goal of dethroning BMW AG as the world's largest maker of luxury cars by 2015. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler reiterated a goal on March 9 of restoring deliveries this year to 1 million cars and SUVs, a 5.3 percent increase from 2009. BMW is targeting a “single-digit percentage” sales gain while Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz division, the No. 2 luxury-car manufacturer, aims to outpace auto-market growth of 4 percent.
The VW unit aims to introduce a dozen new models this year as part of its goal to bring the lineup to 42 vehicles by 2015. Audi will invest 7.3 billion euros on car development and plant upgrades through 2012. Audi's deliveries in 2009 declined 5.4 percent to 949,729 cars and SUVs from 1 million in 2008.
Audi's first-quarter operating margin increased to 5.8 percent from 5.4 percent a year earlier, Strotbek said, He reiterated the carmaker's goal to increase sales to more than 1 million vehicles this year.
Profit at Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen, which aims to overtake Toyota Motor Corp. in deliveries and profitability by 2018, almost doubled in the first three months to 473 million euros, helped by gains at Audi and the VW namesake brand. VW group sales climbed 19 percent to 28.6 billion euros.