Audi says sales goal may need extra year image

Volkswagen AG’s Audi division may need at least one more year to reach a goal of delivering 1.5 million cars as customers withhold purchases of luxury vehicles, according to the unit’s sales chief.

Audi has a target of selling 1.5 million cars and sport- utility vehicles by 2015. That may become more difficult to achieve as the division’s global deliveries will probably drop 10 percent to 900,000 this year, Peter Schwarzenbauer said in an interview from Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany.

“Whether it will now take one or two years longer doesn’t make much of a difference,” Schwarzenbauer said by telephone.

Last year, the division boosted registrations 4.1 percent to a record 1 million vehicles, the 13th consecutive increase. Growth contrasted with declines at competitors Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Daimler AG as the recession caused the most severe shrinkage in car markets in decades. Audi aims to expand its lineup to 40 models by 2015 from 32 as of mid-2009.

Audi’s sales in May declined 6.1 percent from a year earlier to 82,800 vehicles, and five-month deliveries fell 12 percent to 374,750, Audi said today in a statement. Western European sales dropped 11 percent to 52,650 vehicles and U.S. sales fell 12 percent to 7,503. The group decline was held back by a 28 percent increase in China to 12,435 vehicles.

Wolfsburg, Germany-based VW is Europe’s largest carmaker.

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