FRANKFURT (Bloomberg) – Buyers of Volkswagen AG's luxury brand Audi must wait an average of three to four months for cars like the $52,700 A6 sedan as the company runs factories at full steam in an effort to keep pace with record demand, sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer said.
“If sales continue to grow like this, it'll be difficult to say how long it could take to reduce waiting times,” Schwarzenbauer said Tuesday in a phone interview from Audi's headquarters in Ingolstadt. “We're working at full capacity at our plants and may add extra shifts on Saturdays.”
Buyers of Audi's full-size A6, which is coming out in a new version starting in March, and the compact A3 have especially long waits due to the models' popularity, spokeswoman Esther Bahne said.
Customers generally receive their cars within eight to 10 weeks of their order during periods with more normal levels of demand, she said.
BMW AG, Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz division and VW's Audi, Germany's three biggest luxury-auto makers, all reported record sales for January, with the VW unit besting its two larger rivals in deliveries for the month. The manufacturers are adding or expanding plants this year to satisfy growing demand from China, the U.S. and Germany.
Customers at BMW, must wait as many as three months for most models and as long as six months for the overhauled X3 SUV, said Birgit Hiller, a spokeswoman for the company.
Mercedes waiting times
Waiting times at Mercedes-Benz, which ranks second to BMW in global sales, are at close to the pre-recession levels of 2007, with most vehicles ordered now scheduled for delivery at the beginning of the second quarter, said Verena Mueller, a spokeswoman for the automaker.
“Among the three carmakers, Audi seems to be in the most tense situation,” said Thierry Huon, a Paris-based analyst at Exane BNP Paribas. “If you're forced to deliver two months after your competitors, you never know what your customers will do.”
The A3 is priced starting at 20,950 euros ($28,700), while the A6 costs a minimum 38,500 euros.
Audi is working with suppliers to ensure a timely stream of components as the industry struggles to keep up with the recovery in demand, Schwarzenbauer said. The company expects to achieve “double-digit” vehicle-sales growth in China and the U.S. this year and aims to grow in a stagnant European market, he said, adding that industry wide global sales will probably increase by 5 percent to 62 million vehicles.