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To build image, Audi will boost sales of large sedans

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To build image, Audi will boost sales of large sedans

Diana T. Kurylko

Automotive News -- February 8, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

CASARES, Spain -- Audi aims to focus more on sales of its big sedans in the United States in an effort to take the brand further upscale.

Audi of America President Johan de Nysschen said he expects the A8, A6 and forthcoming A7 to account for 25 percent of U.S. sales within five years. Together, the A8 and A6 represented about 10 percent of Audi's volume last year.

"The A4 is now our center of gravity and half of our sales," said de Nysschen at a press preview of the redesigned A8 here. "If you have a higher presence in the high end, your brand will be perceived as more powerful, and it drives your profile."

He wants the compact A4, a platform mate of Volkswagen's Passat, to represent about 40 percent of Audi's sales as the brand aims at more affluent buyers.

"These buyers help reconfirm Audi as an aspirational brand," de Nysschen said.

Last year Audi sold 82,716 vehicles in the United States.

The move upscale will be led by the third-generation A8, which debuts in late summer. Audi targets full-year sales of 4,000 to 4,500 units for the new version, up from the 1,463 A8s sold in the United States last year.

A year after the A8 debuts, Audi will introduce the A7 sedan with coupelike styling. The annual sales target is 4,000 to 4,500 units.

Audi is scheduled to unveil the production version of the A7 at the Geneva auto show next month.

The A6 will be redesigned in 2012, de Nysschen said. After the new version appears, Audi aims for sales of 15,000 to 16,000 units annually. Last year Audi sold 6,786 A6s, including the S6 performance version, down from 11,956 in 2008.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20100208/RETAIL03/302089978/1018#ixzz0exUh5nEX[/b][/size]

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