Audi risks losing its sales momentum on barren model push

Article by Anita Panait, on March 6, 2014

Audi will just showcase one model, a niche luxury sports car, at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Audi, the luxury unit of the Volkswagen Group, unveiled a new version of the TT sports car, which accounted for less than 2 percent of the brand's 1.58 million sales in 2013.

On the hand, close rival BMW will present the latest model from its cutting-edge "i" series of electric cars, while Mercedes-Benz will showcase a new version of its C class.

Over the past decade, Audi had worked hard in order to narrow the sales lead of current market leader BMW. But it seems that it is now losing momentum.

While its rivals have been bringing out new products in recent industry gatherings and auto show, Audi’s exhibits are not so eye-enticing. Likewise, revamps to Audi's top-selling A4 sedan and the Q7 SUV, slated for this year, will be pushed into 2015 as they need to be reworked, two VW sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

As a result, some analysts are questioning whether Audi could maintain its strong sales growth and achieve its target of surpassing BMW by 2020.

"Audi is facing a barren spell just when Mercedes-Benz looks to take the fight back to the premiums," said Stefan Bratzel, head of the Centre of Automotive Management think-tank near Cologne. "The current order is anything but set in stone," he added, referring to luxury car industry rankings.

The European vehicle is on its road to recovery following six years of decline, with sales in the European Union surging for a fifth straight month in January. [source: Reuters]

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