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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Audi: New sales division in China

Audi is changing their sales organisation in China.
FAW-Volkswagen and German luxury car maker Audi AG have revved up their business in the world's no. 2 car market by combining the marketing and sales of both its locally made and imported vehicles into a single business group.

The new Changchun-based Audi Sales Division, an integral part of FAW-Volkswagen, has taken over responsibility for the sales and marketing of imported models from Audi China since January.

Ralph Weyler, Audi's board member responsible for China marketing and sales, said the new business unit will coordinate the carmaker's activities in China, including marketing, brand promotion, public relations and communications. As a premium global brand, Audi needs "one voice and one strategy" in China, said Weyler.

The FAW-Volkswagen joint venture, a successful partnership between Volkswagen AG and FAW Group, stretches back to 1989 when the two companies began to produce and sell Audi 100 and 200 series luxury sedans.

Wholly-owned Audi China, established in 1996 to market Audi's imported vehicles in China, will continue to act as a bridge between Audi's activities at the Changchun joint venture and the company¡¯s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany.

Erich Schmitt, Audi board member, said the move is a result of Audi's strong partnership with FAW Group.

Audi's sales in China have benefited from the new sales structure, as has its new product line. In the first half of this year, the company sold a total of 38,837 vehicles in China, doubling sales from one year ago. The strong sales included 27,891 units of the new Audi A6, which was launched at the Changchun joint venture in April last year.

Audi's imported line up in China includes the A8 luxury sedan and Q7 sport utility vehicle. The Q7 was brought to China earlier this month.

The change is expected to help Audi maintain its decade-long leadership in China's luxury car segment amid mounting competition, and enable the company to unify efforts to further promote its brand image in China.

Audi's small-volume imported models are expected to use the venture's strong existing dealerships to boost sales rapidly. Audi now has a total of 121 dealerships in China, the biggest sales forces among premium car brands in the fast-growing market. Weyler says that number will grow to 200 in coming years.

Inspired by its strong performance in China, Audi aims to boost sales in the nation to 100,000 units a year in 2008 and 200,000 units in 2015, according to Weyler.

Weyler predicts China will unseat the United States and England as Audi's biggest markets after Germany within the next two to three years.

FAW-Volkswagen, a joint venture between FAW Group and Volkswagen AG, produces a wide range of premium passenger and commercial vehicles. Current products include the Volkswagen Bora, Caddy MPV, Golf, Jetta, and Sagitar; and Audi A4, A6, A8, and Q7.

FAW Group is a leading global manufacturer of quality passenger cars, trucks, and buses. Established in 1953, the company is China's oldest and largest automotive group. Annual sales exceed one million units.

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Source: Fourtitude, logo by Cartype


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