BERLIN (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG's Audi luxury brand will start selling the new A1 compact outside Europe next year and is increasing production to meet higher demand, Audi sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer said.
The A1, originally built to sell only in Europe, will be expanded to markets globally in 2011, with the exception of China and the United States, he said.
Audi's smallest vehicle will be introduced in China at some point after 2011, Schwarzenbauer added. The car will go on sale in the United States “at the earliest” with the model's second-generation, he said.
The A1 goes on sale Aug. 27 in Europe. The car, which competes with BMW AG's 1 series and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz A class, will start at 15,800 euros in Germany.
Audi decided to expand sales of the A1 after a Web site the automaker set up for the car attracted more than 150,000 interested customers around the world, Schwarzenbauer said.
“We will expand our production capacities by 20 percent” for the A1, Schwarzenbauer said in an interview on Tuesday. Audi initially pledged to produce about 100,000 A1s annually at its Brussels factory.
Audi, which is targeting record sales of more than 1.08 million cars and SUVs this year, has a goal of dethroning BMW as the world's largest maker of luxury cars by 2015 when it wants to reach annual sales of 1.5 million vehicles.
BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi have boosted sales this year on surging demand in China, the world's largest car market, and a rebound in the United States.