SHANGHAI — Audi AG will need to increase its global head count by more than 20 percent by 2020 to keep pace with rapid sales gains, CEO Rupert Stadler told Automotive News Europe.
"Our sales growth goes hand in hand with additional production capacity, products and people," Stadler said. "Last year we employed 58,000 globally. By the end of the decade it should be 70,000."
This year Audi will hire 1,200 new employees worldwide and also bring more than 200 contract workers and 700 apprentices on board as employees, he said.
Audi would need 1,000 to 2,000 new workers in the United States if it decides to build a plant in the U.S., Stadler told Automotive News Europe in an interview at the Shanghai auto show. Audi hasn't decided whether to build an assembly plant in the U.S. — and is in no hurry. Said Stadler: "We will decide before 2015."
But sales trends bode well for a plant. Last year Audi surpassed 100,000 U.S. sales in for the first time and sales are up 14 percent so far this year. "We want to increase our U.S. sales by a double-digit percentage this year," Stadler said. "Our dealers are demanding more cars right now than we can deliver."
Audi earlier announced a target of 150,000 to 160,000 U.S. sales by 2015. Now Stadler indicated that there is chance to reach the goal even earlier.
Audi aims to supplant BMW as the world's largest maker of luxury cars. By 2015 it wants to reach annual sales of 1.5 million vehicles. The brand aims to sell about 1.2 million cars this year after selling 1.1 million in 2010.
"Anybody who knows Audi understands that we are not a brand that will stop at that point, as we see still see strong sales potential in markets such as China, Russia, India, South America and also in the U.S.," Stadler said.