Audi expects pre-pandemic sales levels by 2022-23

FRANKFURT — Audi expects car sales to reach pre-COVID-19 levels only by 2022 or 2023, CEO Markus Duesmann told a German business daily.

“We certainly expect the coronavirus crisis to have longer-term effects,” Duesmann told Handelsblatt’s Thursday edition.

“We have had a very difficult second quarter. Things are slowly picking up, but not as a ‘sharp V’ as one would wish for,” he said, adding that countries such as China showed a strong rebound while other markets needed more time to recover.

Audi is partly banking on rising demand for electronic vehicles, benefiting from government incentives.

The automaker is targeting 2020 sales of 40,000 e-tron models after selling 17,000 in the first six months, Duesmann said.

He conceded that Tesla has a significant technological lead in several areas.

“Currently, Tesla has larger batteries because their cars are built around the batteries. Tesla is two years ahead in terms of computing and software architecture, and in autonomous driving as well,” he said.

In Canada, Audi sales were down nine per cent to 33,531 units in 2019 and they are down 33 per cent to 10,647 through the first half of this year. Audi remains the third best-selling luxury brand in Canada through the first six months of 2020.

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