INTERNATIONAL – Audi delivered around 1,812,500 automobiles to customers worldwide in 2018, 3.5 percent less than the year before, the German luxury car manufacturer announced on Thursday.
Audi Chief Executive Bram Schot said that his company was now "preparing for new challenges after a challenging year."
In Europe, Audi sales have fallen by 13.6 percent over the past twelve months. According to Audi, the car manufacturer had replaced almost a third of its deliveries with important model changeovers for the A1, A6, A7 and Q3 models since the start of the year.
"As expected, 2018 has proven extremely challenging with the largest model and technology campaign in Audi's history -- coinciding with the switch to the new WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test) cycle," said Schot.
Total Audi sales were boosted by a growing business in China, where the Ingolstadt-based carmaker reaffirmed its position as the "most successful premium brand for the 30th year in succession" and closed the year with a new record 663,049 automobiles sold, representing an increase of 10.9 percent.
Audi is aiming to set an important milestone in the second half of this year for the electrification of the Chinese model range by introducing the first electric car produced in China, the Audi Q2 L e-tron.
Speaking to Xinhua on Thursday, an Audi spokesperson said that the car made in China is expected to be "launched in the second half of 2019".
The new A6 L, which is also produced locally in China, will be made available in January. Audi sales in North America remained almost stable. For the first time in the history of Audi, SUV sales accounted for 57 percent of total deliveries in America.