Audi CEO Rupert Stadler believes that in 2012, it will be tougher for the automotive industry, according to an interview with Reuters. However, he doesn’t consider this a reason to be pessimistic since he thinks that the industry will have persistent growth over the next decade due to the desire for those in developing economies to be mobile.
He denied reports that he will succeed Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn when he departs from the automaker at the end of 2016.
He anticipates that there will be 8-9% increase in the automotive market in China, with a 20-30% expansion in the premium segment. He declined to discuss a timeframe for this forecast. Audi leads the Chinese luxury segment with a wide gap. Audi is followed by German competitors, BMW and Daimler AG's Mercedes. Stadler also told Reuters that he aims to make Audi the top premium automaker in the world by 2015.
He explained that automakers have better chances of growth in the premium segment since the number of millionaires in China is expected to increase. Audi hopes to take the No. 1 spot in the U.S., which is the largest premium segment in the world with almost 2 million cars. In this market, Audi is behind BMW and Mercedes. He said that to help in reaching this goal, there may be a new production plant but it’s still not known where this facility would be located. [source: Autonews]