Audi is optimistic that this year, it will be able to surpass its contribution in earnings and cash to parent Volkswagen AG in 2009. Audi is banking on its launching of a dozen new models, including the A1 subcompact. Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said that while the company thinks that the worst of the crisis is over, it cannot give the all-clear for 2010 yet.
He said that he recognized signs that the financial crisis is going to take longer to improve than initially assumed. If not for Audiâ€š net cash position last year, VW's entire value of 10.6 billion euros ($14.42 billion), which it will use for its latest acquisitions, would have effectively been zero.
Car markets had suffered greatly, and it affected premium carmakers even more but Audi had trimmed down its inventories to help boost net cash flow by 21% to 2.32 billion euros.
Audi Chief Financial Officer Axel Strotbek forecast higher revenue and operating profit as the brand aims to exceed the one-million mark in vehicle sales this year.
In Audi's annual report, the company stated that it expected retail volumes, turnover, earnings and margins to improve next year.
Operating profit may have dropped by 42% last year but income from interest on its large cash pile as well as financial currency hedges lifted its earnings to 1.93 billion euros before tax, surpassing even that of parent VW by nearly 670 million.