Audi September sales fall 6.8 percent on year image

German carmaker Audi AG said Friday it delivered 6.8 percent fewer cars in September than a year earlier as the global downturn continued to affect demand, but noted it fared better than the wider market and saw gains in some regions.

The Ingolstadt-based company, a unit of Europe’s biggest carmaker Volkswagen AG, said it sold 88,600 cars for the month compared with 95,136 cars in September 2008.

For the first nine months, the company reported a sales decline of 7.5 percent to 705,300 cars from 762,288 in the January-September period of 2008.

“Our unit sales developed better than expected during the first three quarters of the year,” Peter Schwarzenbauer, an Audi sales and marketing official said in the company’s report.

“In the United States we’ve consolidated our position, and in China we’ve reasserted our leadership. And the current figures confirm our position as Europe’s leading premium brand. We have been able to significantly strengthen our brand during these months.”

Audi said that for the overall Asia-Pacific region sales rose by more than 31 percent in the year to September to 19,501 cars. Asia-Pacific sales were 17 percent higher in the first nine months.

The bulk of sales came from China, the company’s biggest market outside Germany, while India, Australia and South Korea also led to the gains. In China, Audi delivered 15,249 cars for the month, compared with 11,169 in September 2008, a 36.5 percent increase.

Canada also saw sales rise more than 17 percent for the month.

While western Europe and the U.S. saw sales declines for the month, the company said it fared better than the overall premium car market and that it was able to make market share gains.

In the U.S., Audi saw sales drop by about 5 percent in September to 7,209 cars and a decline of about 10 percent for the first nine months.

Audi said it was able to expand its market share in the U.S. by 1.6 percentage points to 8.3 percent.

In western Europe excluding Germany, Audi saw sales decline about 9 percent in September to 38,318 cars. Its market share rose to nearly 4 percent in western Europe.

In Germany, the company’s biggest market, Audi saw sales decline about 28 percent in September.

Shares of Audi were nearly unchanged at euro407.41 ($598) in Frankfurt morning trading.