INGOLSTADT, Germany (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG's luxury division, Audi AG, aims for earnings before interest and taxes to rise faster than revenue this year as the A8 sedan and the new A1 compact win more customers in its largest markets.
“We now expect that operating profit will grow more than sales, provided that major car markets will continue to develop positively,” Chief Financial Officer Axel Strotbek said in remarks prepared for delivery today at Audi's annual shareholder meeting in Ingolstadt, Germany.
The company has a goal of dethroning BMW AG as the world's largest maker of luxury cars by 2015. Audi's four-month sales totaled 360,750 cars and SUV, beating the 342,000 deliveries posted by Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz brand, leaving Audi as the No. 2 premium auto brand in the world based on unit sales.
Audi is targeting a return on capital employed (ROCE) in 2020 of more than 18 percent and a pretax margin of more than 8 percent of sales, Strotbek said. He reiterated a goal of exceeding 1 million deliveries in 2010, more than a 5.3 percent increase from 2009. That compares with “single-digit percentage” sales gain targeted by BMW and Mercedes-Benz division's plan to outpace car-market growth of 4 percent.
First-quarter net income at Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen, which aims to overtake Toyota Motor Corp. in deliveries and profitability by 2018, almost doubled to 473 million euros ($568 million) on a 19 percent increase in sales, helped by gains at Audi and the VW brand.
Audi's 478 million euros in operating profit accounted for more than half of VW's EBIT of 848 million euros in the quarter, and the division's operating margin increased to 5.8 percent of revenue from 5.4 percent a year earlier.
The brand aims to introduce a dozen new models this year as part of its goal of bringing the lineup to 42 vehicles by 2015 and investing 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.