published Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

VW’s luxury, sports brands work to stand apart at auto show

  • photo
    Audi's R8 GT is prominently on display at their booth at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI., late Monday morning.
    Staff photo by Dan Henry

DETROIT — The head of Volkswagen luxury brand Audi said Monday he expects 2011 sales to top last year’s record-setting mark.

“Audi has positioned itself outstandingly well,” said Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi’s board of management, at the North American International Auto Show. “We have the right strategy at the right time.”

VW’s Chattanooga auto assembly plant has been mentioned as a possible future site for Audi production in the United States.

Johan de Nysschen, Audi of America president, said Audi sales in the region were up 23 percent in 2010 over the prior year.

“In America, we’re making a meaningful contribution” to the company, he said. The Audi of America chief said it is growing market share and volume.

Audi of America ended 2010 with a 23-day supply of vehicles, which is quite low for any car company, de Nysschen said.

“This year, we expect business to grow and outpace the market,” he said.

Audi introduced a new A6 at the Detroit show.

Meanwhile, Porsche chief Matthias Muller said at the auto show that the sports car maker is back in Detroit “with a force.” Porsche, which is becoming a VW brand, hasn’t been at the auto show in the past three years.

Muller said Porsche is looking closely at production of a sport utility vehicle smaller than its successful Cayenne.

“The U.S. is still the largest and most important market” for Porsche, he said. “Things are looking up at Porsche.”

Porsche unveiled at the show the 918 RSR hybrid, which boasts peak performance of 767 horsepower.

Read more: VW's new Passat 'born in the U.S.A.'

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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