Audi will invest 13 billion euros ($16.5 billion) over the next four years as it aggressively pursues growth in the face of a challenging global economic climate.

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The ambitious capital expenditure program will see the prestige German manufacturer focus on the development of new vehicles and technologies as well as the completion of three new manufacturing plants.

Nearly eight billion euros ($10 billion) will be invested into existing hubs in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm as Audi modernises and expands its showroom line-up and intensifies its efforts in the areas of electric mobility and lightweight design and construction.

Audi’s expansion plans should see the completion of the manufacturing site in Gyor, Hungary, later this year, followed by assembly lines in Foshan, China, in early 2014 and San Jose Chiapa, Mexico by 2016.

Audi AG chief financial officer Axel Strotbek said investment in international production facilities was fundamental to the brand’s goal of becoming the world’s top-selling premium vehicle brand and boosting its sales to more than two million per year by 2020.

“The expansion of our global manufacturing infrastructure will help us to continue growing,” Strotbek said. “We will keep investing large sums to pursue our growth strategy.”

The battle between Germany’s premium car maker’s looks set to intensify this year. US publication The Detroit News quotes figures from industry analyst IHS Automotive, which expects BMW to sell 1.54 million vehicles in 2013, taking a narrow victory over Mercedes-Benz (1.46 million) and Audi (1.44 million).