Audi CEO Bram Schot has revealed that the company delivered 3.5% fewer vehicles to customers in 2018 than in 2017.
Speaking at the company’s annual press conference, Schot stated that the 1.812m Audi models sold in 2018 represented a drop of 65,000 compared with the previous 12 months.
In financial terms, this drop in sales translates to a €1.2 billion decrease in profit margins, down to €3.5 billion from €4.7 billion.
The reason for the shortfall, Schot claimed, is a lack of preparation for the implementation of WLTP European emissions regulation.
Audi was forced to create gaps in its product portfolio as certain powertrains fell foul of increasingly stringent pollution-targeting legislation, which in turn led to shift cancellations at the company’s Ingolstadt production facility.
Chief financial officer Alexander Seitz said the profits achieved are "a clear reflection of [Audi's] failure to prepare for WLTP", and "do not reflect Audi's expectations".
Schot said the company is better prepared for WLTP in 2019, having reduced its range of possible engine/transmission combinations by 30% and implementing a new “consistently Audi” operating ethos.
Working on the principles of transparency and integrity, Schot said, will help Audi to “find its way back” to the strength it enjoyed at the beginning of the millennium.
Schot is confident that the growing electrified range will appeal to a wide audience, stating that “every customer will find the right ‘E’ model”.