Audi CEO Rupert Stadler says China’s car sales slowdown is temporary and believes that volumes will start increasing again soon.
“We think after period of consolidation we will see permanent growth in China,” he said. “I’m more optimistic than others.”
Stadler, who made the comments to journalists at the recent Frankfurt auto show, added that he is confident demand for premium cars in China could grow from 9 percent annually now to 12 percent to 15 percent a year in the future, without predicting when this might happen.
“There are enough affluent people who want to buy premium products,” he said about China, where Audi is the top-selling premium automaker.
After years of strong growth in China, which is the automaker’s single-largest market, Audi’s year-on-year sales there have declined for four consecutive months, leaving its eight-month volume down 0.8 percent to 361,316 cars.
Through eight months overall car sales in China were static at 15,017,200 units.
Stadler said that to continue to benefit in China Audi needs to adjust its approach. “We have to control stock [better], and we have to work on product much more frequently than 10 years ago,” he said. “We need to renew gadgets and some components to make sure our products have a fresh appearance.”