Audi may hit 1.5-million car sales mark earlier image

Volkswagen’s luxury car brand Audi may reach its goal of selling 1.5 million vehicles per year earlier, mostly because of a high interest for premium vehicles from Russia, China and the United States.

The world’s second-largest maker of luxury cars forecasts sales to increase as long as economic conditions don’t deteriorate significantly, the Volkswagen unit said today.

Audi intends to grow faster than the overall auto industry by introducing 18 new models this year, including a new generation A3 compact and a hybrid version of the A6 sedan. The carmaker had an operating profit of 5.35 billion euros ($6.94 billion) in 2011.

The manufacturer, which so far expected to reach its target in 2015, boosted four-month deliveries 11.7 percent to 471,300 cars and sport-utility vehicles.

In addition, Audi outsold BMW in April. Deliveries of Audi cars and sport-utility vehicles increased 14.4 percent in April to 125,200, the company said on Wednesday. Sales of BMW brand models rose 7.4 percent, about half of Audi’s pace, to 121,476 cars.

“Audi will remain the No. 1 challenger to BMW over the next four to five years,” said Frank Schwope, an analyst with NordLB in Hanover.

“They’re firmly rooted in lucrative markets and benefit greatly from VW resources.”