VW’s Audi, Porsche, Bentley report record sales in 2013

Audi, Porsche and Bentley sold more cars than ever as the Volkswagen AG luxury divisions rolled out new models to tap rising demand from the world’s wealthy.

Audi’s deliveries last year rose 8.3 percent to 1.58 million cars and SUVs, helped by revamps of the A3 compact, the company said today in a statement. Porsche reported a 15 percent jump to 162,145 deliveries as demand for the Boxster roadster and related Cayman sports car more than doubled. Bentley’s sales surged 19 percent to 10,120 units.

Sales of luxury cars have outpaced growth in mass-market vehicles as incomes rise in countries such as China, India and Russia, and spending bounces back in the United States. Volkswagen is expanding its premium brands with models such as Bentley’s first SUV and Porsche’s new Macan crossover to boost profit in a strategy to become the world’s biggest automaker by 2018.

Porsche is targeting further delivery growth this year, as feedback on the Macan presentation has been “very positive," and the 918 Spyder hybrid sports car is “not far" from being sold out, Matthias Mueller, head of the division, said today on a conference call.

Nine-month group operating profit at Volkswagen totaled 8.56 billion euros ($11.63 billion), with earnings amounting to 3.74 billion euros ($5.08 billion) at Audi, 1.89 billion euros ($2.56 billion) at Porsche and 98 million euros ($133.1 million) at Bentley. Volkswagen also owns Italian supercar producer Lamborghini, whose figures are included in Audi’s numbers.

Audi has a target of replacing BMW AG as the world’s biggest maker of premium vehicles by the end of the decade. The division surpassed the 1.5 million-delivery mark two years earlier than planned in 2013, with A3 sales rising 19 percent and the Q lineup of SUVs posting a 24 percent increase, Audi said today.

“In the past four years alone, Audi has attracted more than 600,000 new customers," CEO Rupert Stadler said in the statement.

BMW has yet to release group delivery figures for 2013. Its Rolls-Royce super-luxury division said today that annual sales rose 1.5 percent to 3,630 units. Demand was helped as the $234,000 Wraith, Rolls-Royce’s first coupe since BMW took the brand over in 1998, joined the line-up in the final weeks of the year.

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