Audi more cautious about 2013 profit growth amid European crisis image

Audi is turning more pessimistic about its chances to increase earnings in 2013 due to weakening European markets.

The VW-owned premium carmaker estimates it could take two to three years for auto sales to return to growth in Europe, where Audi sells half of its cars.

According to Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, the crisis in Europe is getting bigger. “The wind out there is becoming much harsher. Customers all over Europe are unnerved by the effects of the debt crisis”, Stadler told Reuters. The executive has become more pessimistic during the fourth quarter on the business outlook in Europe.

Asked whether Audi’s forecast of increasing vehicle sales next year would also mean a higher 2013 operating profit, the CEO said he would not put his money on it today. Audi’s profit increased 6 percent to 4.2 billion euros in the first 9 months of 2012, almost half the 8.8 billion of parent VW, which includes eight passenger-car brands.

In September at the Paris auto show, Stadler said it was possible Audi’s core markets might only stagnate for the next one or two years. Audi sales in Germany and Europe fell in November by 4.3 percent and 1.9 percent respectively, after gains of 5.1 percent and 4.2 percent the month before.