Audi is aiming this year to further trim the lead of the current best-selling global carmaker, BMW, and keep Mercedes-Benz at bay. "This is our intention," chief executive Rupert Stadler remarked at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He remarked in a Bloomberg Television interview that while competition is “very strong" in the premium car segment, " this makes us even stronger."
Audi posted an 8.3-percent surge in deliveries in 2013 to a record 1.58 million cars and SUVs, boosted by the overhauled A3 compact and increasing demand for the Q5 and Q3 SUVs. In recent years, luxury car deliveries have outgrown mass market vehicle sales as incomes rise in countries like China and as spending rebounds in the United States.
Audi aims to surpass BMW as the world's largest luxury carmaker by 2020. The gap between BMW and Audi has narrowed to 79,600 vehicles. The disparity between BMW and Mercedes-Benz was 193,500. Mercedes-Benz has managed to outpace its two rivals in recent months, thanks to new models like the CLA compact sedan.
Audi is introducing a new sedan version of the A3 hatchback in the US and China to appeal to consumers seeking a compact car with separate trunk space. Audi is also introducing an overhauled version of the TT sportscar later this year. Stadler has reiterated Audi's intention to expand its product range to around 60 models from the current 49 as it seeks to lift annual sales to at least 2 million vehicles by 2020.
Audi has considered the widening of its SUV range as a cornerstone its expansion strategy. The German carmaker said in December that it will introduce the subcompact Q1 SUV in 2016 to "round off our Q series at the bottom end." Audi expects SUVs to account for over 35 percent of total output by 2020.