Audi CEO Rupert Stadler is confident that his automaker will remain the world’s second-largest premium brand after BMW this year despite a product trough and a big challenge from fast-growing Mercedes-Benz. He explained why during an interview with Automobilwoche Editor Guido Reinking and Reporter Pia Krix. Automobilwoche is a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
Audi has no new high-volume vehicle joining the lineup this year, while BMW and Mercedes have a number of new products. Is this a problem?
We are in the midst of the greatest internationalization and investment push in our history. Last year we opened two new plants, one in Foshan, China, and another in Gyor, Hungary. In 2016, another new plant follows in Mexico while we are launching production in Brazil [at a VW plant]. We are also investing 22 billion euros in the development and production of new models by 2018. Today we are sowing and we will reap the harvest tomorrow. Anyone can generate volume with a new model. There is no trick to that. It is a greater achievement to remain attractive through the use of intelligent model upgrades when part of the lineup already has been in the market three or four years.