The Audi Group is systematically continuing along its path of global growth. In the year to date, the company has already delivered more than 560,000 automobiles to its customers. In order to satisfy demand for the cars with the Four Rings, Audi is operating with special shifts. This year alone, the premium brand intends to launch 17 new models and derivatives on the market. At the same time, the Ingolstadt-based company is pressing ahead with the biggest investment program in its history: By 2018, approximately 22 billion is to flow into the development of new models and technologies and the expansion of international manufacturing structures. Despite the high levels of advance expenditure, the Audi Group aims to achieve an operating return on sales within its strategic target corridor of eight to ten percent. This year alone, the company intends to recruit 2,000 new experts and 750 apprentices in Germany.
At the 125th Annual General Meeting of AUDI AG, the company today informed its shareholders about all the key metrics of the past financial year and the strong performance of the brand with the Four Rings. In his speech at the headquarters in Ingolstadt, Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, emphasized the strategic goal of the automobile manufacturer until 2020: We are tackling our tasks with a highly motivated team, with the clear ambition to be the number one.
enlargeThe current delivery numbers are evidence of the company s success. In the first four months of this year, approximately 561,900 customers decided to buy an Audi (2013: 502,989). This represents an increase of 11.7 percent. Since January, Audi has made progress over the prior-year period not only with the Q3 compact SUV and the new A3 family, but also with full-sized automobiles such as the A6, A7, Q7 and A8. The brand with the Four Rings intends to launch a total of 17 new models and derivatives on the market in 2014, and thus to continue its growth in all regions of the world. Audi CEO Stadler explained to more than 600 shareholders and guests at the Annual General Meeting: We are starting the second stage of our model offensive this year. The automobile manufacturer is therefore stepping up the pace of investment.
In order to continue its Vorsprung durch Technik, Audi will invest approximately 22 billion in new models and technologies and in the expansion of its international manufacturing structures by 2018. The company has set aside 70 percent of the biggest investment program in its history for the expansion and modernization of its model range and its technology and innovation portfolio. Despite intensive advance expenditure for the future of our company, we intend to achieve an operating return on sales within our strategic target corridor of eight to ten percent, stated Axel Strotbek.