Audi intends to invest EUR24 billion ($29 billion) to develop technology and expand its production as it bids to surpass BMW as the best-selling luxury brand in the world by 2020. Around 70 percent of that amount, or about EUR16.8 billion, is allocated to new models like the Q1 subcompact SUV.
Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler said in a statement that the carmaker is making large investments in the areas of electric mobility, connectivity and lightweight construction. Audi is planning to offer 60 models by the end of the decade from just around 50 today.
Company's EUR24-billion budget is part of parent Volkswagen's EUR85.6 billion investment plan aimed at becoming the world’s largest carmaker in terms of sales. Audi intends to invest around EUR4.8 billion annually on new vehicles and expanding production capacity.
Audi chief financial officer Axel Strotbek remarked that despite the surge in total investment, the carmaker will “keep a watchful eye” on upcoming challenges and exercise the required cost discipline.
The German carmaker is expect to post sales of over 1.7 million vehicles this year and has already trimmed the lead of BMW in terms of global deliveries.
In the first 11 months of 2014, the gap between the two German carmakers was just 42,600 cars, compared with 54,600 cars in the same period in 2013. Audi is already outselling BMW in China and Europe and intends to do the same in the United States.
The carmaker unveiled Prologue concept car in Los Angeles in November to showcase a more aggressive styling. Audi also intends to launch an electric crossover in the US in 2017 and is building a plant in Mexico that will assemble the Audi Q5 in 2016 for America. [source: Bloomberg.com]