German automaker Audi anticipates sales volumes in China to increase highly enough in November and December to reverse a 3 percent drop there in the first 10 months of the year.
Joachim Wedler, the head of the brand’s Chinese organization, told Reuters on he anticipated a small single-digit percentage increase in full-year volumes in the country.
“We had some obstacles in the first five months, however in the end of the year we will be back,” he stated in an interview before the Guangzhou auto show.
“Last year we sold 585,000 vehicles (in China). In this year we will be ahead so we will touch really close to the 600,000 mark.”
Wedler did not provide a particular sales forecast for 2018.
“We are expecting the premium market next year to grow single digit, and we are confident we can follow the premium market percentage,” he stated.
Chinese sales at Audi dropped previously this year after its relationships with present store operators soured following its move to establish a 2nd Chinese joint venture with SAIC Motor.
According to market specialists, the move outraged Audi’s existing dealers, which offer automobiles produced by its joint venture with FAW.
The existing dealers stopped taking Audi cars in protest, specialists said. This, in addition to the aging Audi A6 sedan, depressed Audi sales, they stated.
“This dealership issue lasted for over half year and it was a severe issue,” stated Yale Zhang, head of Shanghai-based consultancy Automotive Foresight.
“The other issue is the A6. The vehicle is aging and it remains in the final stage of its lifecycle. It just can not take on the new Mercedes E-class and the upgraded BMW 5-series.”
Wedler stated Audi’s relationship with its dealers has been completely brought back after an agreement it signed with them in May.
A rennovation of the A6 remains in the works, and 2018 will see a worldwide launch of the new vehicle, Audi authorities stated. The company has not interacted openly when the upgraded A6 may hit the market in China, they informed.
Audi plans to release five new-energy vehicle models (NEVs), all locally produced in the country, during the next few years. It should be noted that new energy vehicles means all-electric battery cars and plug-in electrical hybrids.
The Guangzhou auto show starts on Friday.