Audi is about to kick off a new expansion phase to in an effort to establish clear leadership of the world premium car market by 2020.
It aims to achieve this by increasing its model count from 50 to 60, helping it push its current record volume ahead another 20 percent to two million units a year.
Speaking at an event in Copenhagen to mark 25 years of TDI diesel engines, Audi chairman Rupert Stadler said the company would begin a new expansion phase this autumn to reach its aggressive new targets — which would depend heavily on diesel sales continuing to boom.
Underscoring its continuing dependence on diesel sales, the company is close to approving a new range of high-performance diesel models, possible carrying the RS badge, following a positive reception for its recent 380bhp RS5 TDI-e concept car.
The new range could be topped with a limited edition supercar in the Le Mans mould, an idea first mooted 18 months ago.
The company has so far built 7.7 million TDI powered cars, he said, and four in every 10 Audis was a diesel. In some markets, the diesel take-up was as high as 90 percent; even in the diesel-sceptical USA, take-up was around 30 percent and rising.
Audi's dependence on diesel sales makes it especially keen to take back the high ground in diesel development. It was led by its rivals to the adoption of refinements like common-rail fuel injection and “intelligent” piezo injector technology.
More recently, the company has announced its intention to bring to production electrically-driven turbochargers (already used in its racing programmes), as a way of cutting turbo lag, in a new range of performance-oriented diesels.