German luxury automaker Audi has said the first three months of 2012 have been the most successful in its history. The Volkswagen subsidiary posted record earnings and revenues in the first quarter.
Automaker Audi of Germany announced on Wednesday that it sold 346,137 units worldwide between January and March 2012. Revenues rose by 17.8 percent year-on-year to 12.4 billion euros ($16.38 billion).
The Ingolstadt-based company increased its operating income by more than a quarter, to 1.4 billion euros. Audi said first-quarter results could be attributed to the streamlining of production processes and higher demand in luxury cars, particularly in emerging markets.
"If economic framework conditions don't change considerably, we will be able to secure about the same result as last year, despite higher material costs for new brands and technologies," Audi's Financial Operations Chief, Axel Strotbek, said in a statement on Wednesday.
To reach that objective, Audi aims to grow faster than the global car market. The VW subsidiary looks set to introduce 18 new models throughout the current year, among them its new A3 brand which was presented at the Geneva Auto Show and will come onto the market in summer. Orders are already being accepted for the A6 Hybrid, the A1 Sportback and the revised brands of the A4 series.
The company reported it was planning to hire 2,000 more employees in Germany alone in the course of the year – 800 more than originally envisaged.
Audi is currently expanding its production facility in Györ, Hungary, where a new A3 model will be assembled, beginning in 2013. By 2016, the carmaker also is expected to have completed construction on a new plant in Mexico for SUV vehicles, although a specific location for the facility has yet to be chosen.
hg/gb (dpa, dapd, Reuters)