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Audi Shatters 2014 Sales Predictions with New Record

China, U.S. results forge path to profitability.

by on Mar.10, 2015

Audi's Board of Management Chairman Rupert Stadler highlights the fact the brand sold 1.74 million units globally in 2014.

Audi enjoyed another record year in 2014, selling more than 1.74 million vehicles globally – a 10.5% jump – with auto powerhouses China and the U.S. leading the sales charge.

The result bested the company’s predictions by nearly 500,000 units. Audi saw sales in China rise 17.7% and jump 15.2% in the U.S., which were the biggest increases of any of the countries where Audi sells vehicle with one exception: Brazil. The German maker nearly doubled sales in the country, where it sold fewer than 9,000 units in 2013.

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“We delivered more in 2014 than promised,” said Board of Management Chairman Rupert Stadler. “After a very positive start to this year, we aim to achieve a new record for unit sales in 2015.” (more…)

Mercedes-AMG Teaming Up with Agusta

German maker returns to its roots.

by on Oct.31, 2014

The new Mercedes-AMG GT S and the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago: the best of the new business partners.

Mercedes’s performance division AMG has launched what it’s billing as a “long-term partnership” with Italian motorcycle manufacturer Agusta Motor SpA. The deal will give Mercedes-AMG GmbH a 25% stake in Agusta.

Exactly how the alliance will work remains to be seen – though Mercedes had a previous alliance with another high-performance bike maker, Ducati, before that Italian firm was snapped up by rival automaker Audi. Indeed, Mercedes is given credit for the invention of the motorcycle itself.

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“The partnership provides us with an entry into a world of additional high-performance enthusiasts,” explained Tobias Moers, chief executive of Mercedes-AMG, in a prepared statement. The two, he added, “are connected not only by a long and successful racing history, but also by shared values and goals for the future – allowing the experience of utmost perfection, optimal performance and motorsport technology for the road.” (more…)

Daimler Reports Mercedes Expected to Hit Sales Record

Company turns profits despite sluggish global economy.

by on Oct.23, 2014

Dieter Zetsche said Daimler's Q3 profits were due in large measure to strong sales by Mercedes-Benz.

Daimler AG used a surge in sales of new Mercedes-Benz models to boost its revenue by 10% in the third quarter despite the soft global economy, which the company expects to slow further by the end of the year.

Daimler Group AG net earnings also increased significantly to 2.82 billion euros compared with 1.89 billion euros in the third quarter of last year and Mercedes-Benz cars is on its way to record sales this year.

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The group’s third-quarter revenue of 33.1 billion euros was 10% above the prior-year level; adjusted for exchange-rate effects, revenue increased by 11%. (more…)

Audi Readying New TT and TTS Models for Paris Debut

German maker gives roadster a needed facelift.

by on Sep.25, 2014

At the Paris Motor Show, Audi showed off its updated Audi TT Roadster and TTS.

Audi’s original TT was a groundbreaker when it came to design but the latest version of the roadster is in need of a little updating.

The good news for fans is that a new version will be making its debut at the Paris Motor Show in barely a week. The bad news is that a U.S. version is expected to lag behind, perhaps by as much as a full model-year.

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The basic shape of the 2015 Audi TT Roadster and the sportier TTS model won’t take anyone by surprise, picking up on the car’s traditional, curvaceous shapes – though Audi claims that aerodynamic improvements now mean the TT will be the mot wind-slick model in its segment. (more…)

On Track for 10 Mil. Could VW Top Toyota This Year?

German maker cautiously optimistic even as profits tumble.

by on Mar.13, 2014

VW is looking to beat 10 million units in worldwide sales with vehicles like the Golf GTD this year.

Trying to get a clear sense of how to read Volkswagen’s latest numbers might leave you scratching your head and, indeed, a quick look at the ways the results are being reported – and the comments made by the company’s top leaders – might only add to the confusion. The interpretation might depend on whether you look at the half-full or half-empty side.

What’s indisputable is that VW’s net income took a sharp, 58% drop for 2013. The German maker made €9 billion, or $12.5 billion last year, down from €21.7 billion in 2012. But if you leave out taxes and one-time charges, operating earnings rose ever so slightly to €11.7 billion euros, or $16.3 billion, from 11.5 billion euros the year before. And sales rose 2.2% to €197 billion.

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Now, jump ahead slightly, the Volkswagen assemblage of vehicle brands scoring a 4% increase in unit volume for January and February and CEO Martin Winterkorn is predicting, “There is a good chance that we will already exceed the 10 million deliveries mark this year.” (more…)

Macan Can Push Porsche Past its 200,000 Goal in 2015

Small SUV intro should get maker to goal three years early.

by on Feb.11, 2014

Porsche's new Macan SUV is expected to help push the company past is goal of 200,000 deliveries a year in 2015: three years early.

Seems like so many German automakers are making public proclamations about when they’ll reach a certain sales goal and sticking to them no matter what the market is doing, except one: Porsche.

Porsche executives said the company will reach its goal of delivering 200,000 vehicles…three years early in 2015.

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The German maker delivered 162,145 vehicles in 2013, which was a 15% increase over the previous year largely due to demand for the Boxster and Cayman doubled. The company has introduced several new models in the last decade, such as the Cayenne, Cayman and Panamera, helping the sales numbers higher and higher. (more…)

VW Celebrates 65 Years of Beetle in America

Three generations later, car is integral to maker’s US success.

by on Jan.31, 2014

Volkwagen's history in the United States is captured in this photo of the 2014 Beetle, left, and the 1949 Beetle, right.

One of the key elements of the German post-World War II economic miracle has reached something a milestone this month.

The Volkswagen Beetle, one of the reborn German auto industry’s most enduring and fabled icons, celebrates 65 years since it first arrived in the United States. In January 1949, a Volkswagen “Type 1,” or Beetle, was shipped to New York City. Sent to Ben Pon, Sr., who was a Dutch businessman and the world’s first official Volkswagen importer.

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It was the first time the Beetle, which went on to become something of a counter-culture staple by the 1960s, was sold in the United States. In fact, sales skyrocketed by 100% after the first one was arrived: VW sent a second one that year and it sold too. (more…)

Mercedes Stretches S600 to Fill Maybach Role

New top-of-the-line model laden with power, technology.

by on Jan.13, 2014

Mercedes-Benz is pushing the S600 as the Maybach replacement until the Pullman arrives next year.

The death of the ultra-exclusive Maybach brand left Daimler AG in a quandary: how to compete against rivals like BMW-owned Rolls-Royce and Volkswagen’s Bentley. The plan calls for stretching the time-tested Mercedes-Benz brand even further up-market – even as it also dips lower than ever into the luxury segment with the likes of the new CLA and GLA models starting at under $30,000. Pushing its top price to 10 times that much is going to be a real test of the Mercedes tri-star’s pulling power.

We’re getting a sense of how the German maker plans to do it with this week’s launch of the new Mercedes-Benz S600. It’s the latest – and soon to be most-expensive – version of the flagship S-Class offered. But it won’t have that distinction for long. The new S600 sets the stage for the launch, later this year, of the Pullman, the stretch model that will be the true replacement for the old, and largely unloved Maybach.

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If the new S600 is the scene-setter, it does so in grand fashion. While there are plenty of new, high-line touches, the heart of the new beast is its bi-turbo V-12 engine which powers a sedan offered only in long-wheelbase form with a luxurious complement of equipment full of the latest connectivity and active safety technology as will as other advanced features Mercedes hopes will justify a price tag that could top $150,000. (more…)

BMW, Toyota Pledge to Make Two Sports Cars

Pair also teaming to develop fuel cell and lightweight technologies.

by on Dec.31, 2013

Could the partnership between Toyota and BMW mean the rumored return of the Supra might be a reality?

Could it be another merger of equals? Well, not on the scale seen previously, but BMW is confirming that it plans to work with Toyota to produce a pair of sports cars and share in the development of fuel cells and lightweight technologies.

“We have agreed on a joint architecture for a sports car. What is important is that there will be two different vehicles that are authentic to the two brands,” BMW’s development chief Herbert Diess told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

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The two companies inked a deal in 2012 to work together in four areas: joint development of a fuel-cell system, joint development of architecture and components for a future sports vehicle, collaboration on powertrain electrification and joint research and development on lightweight technologies. (more…)

VW Busts Out GTI At Wörthersee

German maker titillates fans with amped up concept.

by on May.08, 2013

VW's "Design for GTI" concept will debut at the Worthersee Tour.

Volkswagen is showing off one of its latest concept cars – the “Design Vision GTI” – for car buffs at the annual Wörthersee festival in Austria.

The Design Vision GTI is based on the seventh-generation GTI and the design team, led by Klaus Bischoff, the head of design of Volkswagen Brand, has drawn the C-pillars and sills outward as autonomous body elements, creating space for substantially wider front and rear tracks, as 20-inch wheels.

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Developing a show car for the GTI meeting at Wörthersee is always a great opportunity to package extreme ideas and a lot of emotion. Klaus Bischoff said.

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