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Audi sees new models driving sales despite tough conditions

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Volkswagen's flagship premium brand Audi expects a raft of new models to push its sales to a new record this year, despite "extremely challenging" business conditions, Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler said on Thursday.

[INGOLSTADT] Volkswagen's flagship premium brand Audi expects a raft of new models to push its sales to a new record this year, despite "extremely challenging" business conditions, Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler said on Thursday.

Audi is facing a variety of problems including volatile currencies, heightening competition in China and a possible vote by Britain to leave the European Union, Stadler told its annual shareholder meeting.

It is also still grappling with Volkswagen's (VW) emissions test-cheating scandal. Audi set aside 228 million euros (S$356.2 million) last year to cover technical fixes, legal risks and other measures related to its involvement, Mr Stadler said. "Our outlook for this financial year includes a number of negative indicators," the CEO said.

But Audi, which slipped behind Daimler's Mercedes-Benz last year into third place among the top luxury-car selling brands, is counting on more than 20 all-new or redesigned models this year to beat 2015's record 1.8 million sales.

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Finance chief Axel Strotbek reaffirmed the carmaker's goal to increase both deliveries and revenue "moderately", helped by expected demand for the new Q2 sport-utility vehicle and variants of its top-selling A4 model line.

"Audi's launch calendar should support momentum through 2016 and 2017," UBS analysts said in a note on Thursday. "Audi's solid momentum is a clear positive for Volkswagen group."

REUTERS

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