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Business

German Car Firm Audi Bucks Downward Trend with Record Sales

Audi announced on Thursday, Jan. 8 that its car sales exceeded one million in 2008, the 13th consecutive year-on-year increase. The record results go against the current downward trend in the car industry.

Audi's new A5

The A5 is one of several new models that helped Audi reach record sales in 2008

The carmaker sold just over one million vehicles worldwide in 2008, up 4.1 percent over 2007. December sales rose over 17.4 percent compared to the same month the previous year, at a time when its rivals have been badly hit by the global economic downturn.

Audi head Rupert Stadler said that his firm aims to become "the most attractive premium brand worldwide" in the car market. He added that Audi intends to build on its success by introducing new products in 2009.

Company officials noted that 2008 was the first time that Audi has broken the one million mark in sales. The managers attributed much of the gain to the introduction of 12 new models, including the A4 saloon car and the Q5 sports utility vehicle.

The Ingolstadt-based carmaker is bucking a trend in Germany as well as elsewhere in the world. Car sales in Germany, which is Western Europe's biggest market, fell 6.6 percent in December. In 2008 as a whole, German new car registrations were down by 1.9 percent over 2007 to 3.09 million. Audi is a subsidiary of Volkswagen, Germany's biggest car manufacturer.

KPMG consultants released a survey on January 8, suggesting that senior German auto industry executives feel the situation will stay bleak through 2013. The study of 200 companies showed that respondents expect wildly fluctuating earnings during that period. Some respondents said that they are not in a position to make a reliable estimate of their companies' profitability.

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