The global slump may have taken a toll on Audi’s sales and profits, but the automaker insists the downturn could play to its advantage, longer-term.
The German maker, a semi-autonomous arm of giant Volkswagen AG, reported that it was able to stay in the black, during the first half of 2009, unlike many of its competitors, though profits still slipped by 25%. Sales slipped 9.7% from January through June, noted Chief Financial Officer Axel Strotbek, but that was also a fair bit better than the overall, 18% industry downturn, he stressed, during a conference call with American journalists.
“We want to use this opportunity to emerge from the current crisis considerably stronger,” the executive said, “a winner in the long-term.”
At the current exchange rate, Audi AG posted a net first-half profit of $979.5 million, or €697 million. During the same six-month period last year, Audi’s net was €903 million.
Meanwhile, unit sales fell from 516,219 to 466,000, a nearly 10% dip. The decline varied sharply from country to country, Strotbek noted. In fact, volume increased in China by 10.5%, where Audi now holds a 42% share of the premium car market. Early in the year, the Chinese government took aggressive steps to revive faltering momentum in the country’s automotive market – now the single largest national market in the world. It is now Audi’s second-largest market, after Germany.