The company hasn’t been able to capitalise on an Australian new-car market that is about to set a new annual sales record, with its volume slipping by 1.5 per cent with just one month of results to come.
The Audi Q5, which has just been launched in updated form, and the Audi A5 Sportback are the only two models in the brand’s 14-model line-up to register growth, and only then by less than two per cent.
It contrasts with the fortunes of its German rivals, with BMW up 8.4 per cent over the same period to November, and Mercedes-Benz at plus 6.2 per cent (though including commercial vehicles).
Audi Australia’s product planning manager, John Roberts, says 2012 has been time for consolidation.
“For us now it’s the time to focus on the dealer network and all of our operations around supporting the volume we’ve had after all those years of double-digit growth,” he says.
“If you look at our Route 15 plan, 15,000 cars by 2015… if you take that as a marker we’re in quite a strong position in terms of volume – over 14,000 cars last year.
“We’ll increase on that this year when we finish. So we’re happy with the way we’ve gone this year.
Audi has sold a total of 13,338 vehicles year to date in 2012, compared with BMW’s 16,907 and Mercedes-Benz’s 17,598 once its commercial vehicles are subtracted.
The company’s former boss, Joerg Hofmann, had claimed in 2007 that Audi could beat BMW and Mercedes to become the No.1 luxury car brand in Australia before a 2015 timeline that Audi had set globally to beat its compatriots.
The company will have just one ‘volume’ model in 2013 – the new Audi A3 – to help overtake its rivals, though comparing sales from just six years ago shows how quickly the company has closed the market gap.
In 2006, BMW led the way with 16,034, with Mercedes snapping at its heels with 15,912 (again just passenger cars and SUVs counted) but with Audi some distance back with 5770.
Audi Australia’s successive growth run
2012 – 13,338*
2011 – 14,511
2010 – 12,900
2009 – 11,310
2008 – 9410
2007 – 7225
2006 – 5770
2005 – 4808
2004 – 3701
* Year to date, November 2012