Audi is claiming it could sell up to 10,000 more cars in the UK this year if supply wasn’t being held back by factory shortages on the Continent.
Audi UK has many more customers than production slots allocated for four key models — the A3 hatch, Q5 soft-roader, Q7 seven-seater and A8 luxury saloon.
“We’re having a great year, but forecast that we could sell up to 7000 and 10,000 more cars this year if we had the supply,” says a spokesman for the company.
Three of the models — the A3, Q5 and Q7 — are victims of their own success, Audi simply lacking factory capacity to satisfy worldwide demand.
The A8 is being affected by strong initial demand from China. The new luxury saloon has been planned with a pre-determined production level and suppliers, particularly of interior parts, can only fulfil orders tied to that level of output.
With a limited production level, China is absorbing a larger than anticipated share of the output and a knock-on effect will be a delay to the launch in the UK of the long-wheelbase A8.
Usually Audi UK can fill holes in its demand by taking on factory build-slots that other countries don’t need. “But that’s not happening this year. All the countries are selling well and there’s no sign of extra capacity being freed-up for the UK,” says the spokesman.
To the end of August, Audi has registered 65,850 cars, a 15 per cent increase over 2009. Key rival BMW is having a similarly good year, with 63,376 registrations, a near-16 per cent increase. Mercedes is up nine per cent and Land Rover 61 per cent, while Jaguar is down three per cent.