Audi has pledged to produce 20 new or upgraded models before the close of 2016 and to launch its first all-electric SUV by 2018, with an injection of £2.4 billion worth of investment following its most successful year of sales yet.
The new models will include the all-new Q2, the SQ7 TDI and the Q7 e-tron, which uses a hybrid powertrain and can travel up to 35 miles in full-electric mode, and a new SUV due in 2018 that will be badged as the Q6. The all-new car will use an electric drivetrain and take influence from Q5 e-tron concept of 2015.
Audi made the announcements after it had revealed that the last financial year was its most successful ever as it sold 1.8 million cars, about 600,000 more than the year before. The car maker has already delivered 620,100 cars in the first four months of this year, representing a 4.9% increase on the same period in 2015.
Brand CEO Rupert Stadler said at the car maker’s Annual Meeting event that Audi will invest £2.4 billion into the business before the close of 2016, in order to maintain progress and grow profits further.
Audi’s operating profits for the last financial year amounted to €4.8 billion (about £3.8 billion), proving that the financial constraints of the VW Group emissions scandal have had little effect on overall performance.
Audi also confirmed its intentions to digitliise its range and business processes, suggesting it could follow suit of Mercedes, which has invested heavily in offering digital service options that will allow customers to do things such as book showroom appointments or even buy a car through its website and app.
Stadler is so confident in Audi’s rate of progress in digital technology that he expects it to produce a driverless car within a decade. “By 2025, we will see fully autonomous driving,” he said.