Audi continues to chase after German premium rivals. The pandemic has not upset the balance, because even the house of the Four Rings has recorded decreasing volumes by delivering 1,629,773 specimens globally. The decline was 8.3% against -7.1% for BMW and -7.5% for Mercedes-Benz. It sold 10% of revenues, settling at around 50 billion euros (2.6 billion operating margin, compared to 4.5 billion in the previous year), i.e. over a fifth of the turnover of the Volkswagen group of which it belongs. The 2020 budget was “saved” from the second half of the year and, in particular, from the last quarter: “The best in Audi’s history”, underlined the CEO Markus Duesmann. Between October and December, the German manufacturer delivered nearly 506,000 cars, just under a third of the total.
With its 7,430 delivered cars, too Lamborghini contributed to the financial results of Audi, which also controls Ducati (48,000 motorcycles sold, down 10%, but with a significant order book for 2021). An electrified future is looming for both Italian brands, even if, at least for now, no details have been anticipated.
Even more than other brands, Audi pushes on the electric. It is the only German manufacturer to have already brought it to the road three zero-emission models and in the course of 2021 it is preparing to enrich the range with four other full electric cars: the e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT and the Q4 e-tron and Q4 e-tron Sportback. The first two are the Taycan’s “twin” sports coupes, while the latter are the compact SUVs that will be the entry models to the zero-emission range of the Four Rings house (20 cars by 2025): not only in terms of size, but also as a price. During the year, the plug-in versions of the Q3 and Q5 will also debut, including the Sportback, as well as the RS3, also coupé.
Electrification is a road of no return: Duesmann confirmed the content of an interview released in recent days in which he declared that Audi would suspended the development of new combustion engines, simply updating the existing ones. And that with hydrogen fuel cells is not considered a viable option, at least not immediately: according to Audi the costs of hydrogen fueling are too high, even in environmental terms.
Optimism accompanies the forecasts for the current year, at the end of which the manufacturer plans to report the return on sales, which fell from 8.1% in 2019 to 5.5% in 2020, between 7 and 9 %. There Chinathe first market in the world, supports the expectations of the house of the Four Rings: the first two months have been archived with 135,000 cars delivered, an absolute record for the Middle Kingdom, where Audi has also consolidated itself in the corporate sphere with the creation of a new joint venture, the Audi FAW New Energy Vehicles Company, within which, starting from 2024, it will produce premium electric vehicles for the local market on the basis of the PPE platform developed together with Porsche.