Audi Struggling to Meet Consumer Demand


Audi can’t get ’em out the door fast enough. The comapny’s factories are running at full capacity to meet record demand for the A6 sedan and A3 hatchback, forcing buyers to wait an average of three to four months to take delivery.

During normal sales periods customers usually take delivery of their cars within eight to ten weeks, says an Audi spokesperson. But Germany’s three largest manufacturers BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen have reported record sales throughout January, while the Volkswagen Group has both the highest sales figures and the strongest share values.

Likewise, the situation at Audi is more tense; they are delivering vehicles to consumers two months after their competitors. BMW’s customers wait three months at most, with up to six months for the popular BMW X3. Mercedes sales are close to 2007 levels, just as they were before the recession. But at Audi, “if sales continue to grow like this,” says Audi sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer, “it’ll be difficult to say how long it could take to reduce waiting times.”

Audi expects double-digit growth in both China and the U.S., coming after record sales figures of 1.09 million cars last year. Growing demand in Germany, the United States, and powerhouse market China are putting the pressure on the manufacturers. And in response, Audi, BMW and Mercedes are all planning to add or expand their factories.

Can the momentum carry on without a deluge of angry customers? It might seem like a blessing to have so much demand that they can’t build them fast enough. But the company needs to act fast to keep buyers happy, otherwise soon they’ll be wishing they were back in this position.

[Source: Bloomberg]