FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen AG's premium car brand Audi aims to overtake Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz this year by selling up to 1.3 million vehicles, Audi's CEO said.
"We will surpass Mercedes this year and move up from position No.3 to number No.2," Rupert Stadler told journalists on the sidelines of the Frankfurt auto show
Audi was also upbeat on the economic outlook for the automotive industry.
"There are two early warning signals. One is fleet sales, the other used car sales, and in neither we currently recognize any headwinds," sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer said.
Audi aims to overtake BMW AG as the most successful luxury automaker by 2015.
Audi said earlier this month that its new-car sales rose 17 percent to 853,000 units in the first eight months. Since January, the BMW brand has sold 893,474 cars, a rise of 15.2 percent over 2010 figures. Mercedes-Benz has sold 798,306 units in the first eight months of the year.
In July BMW increased its 2011 sales forecast to 1.6 million vehicles from 1.5 million.
Mercedes said in July that sales of its Mercedes and Smart brands will probably surpass 1.35 million in 2010, compared with an earlier forecast of 1.3 million.
Sources: Reuters; with contributions from David Jolley