UPDATE 1-Audi sees new models driving sales despite tough conditions

jueves 12 de mayo de 2016 05:14 GYT
 

* Volatile currencies causing headwinds - CEO

* Audi expects fiercer competition in China - CEO

* But CFO keeps goal to boost sales, revenue moderately (Adds CEO, analyst comments, detail and background)

INGOLSTADT, Germany, May 12 (Reuters) - Volkswagen's flagship premium brand Audi expects a raft of new models to push its sales to a new record this year, despite "extremely challenging" business conditions, Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler said on Thursday.

Audi is facing a variety of problems including volatile currencies, heightening competition in China and a possible vote by Britain to leave the European Union, Stadler told its annual shareholder meeting.

It is also still grappling with Volkswagen's (VW) emissions test-cheating scandal. Audi set aside 228 million euros ($260 million) last year to cover technical fixes, legal risks and other measures related to its involvement, Stadler said.

"Our outlook for this financial year includes a number of negative indicators," the CEO said.

But Audi, which slipped behind Daimler's Mercedes-Benz last year into third place among the top luxury-car selling brands, is counting on more than 20 all-new or redesigned models this year to beat 2015's record 1.8 million sales.

Finance chief Axel Strotbek reaffirmed the carmaker's goal to increase both deliveries and revenue "moderately", helped by expected demand for the new Q2 sport-utility vehicle and variants of its top-selling A4 model line.

"Audi's launch calendar should support momentum through 2016 and 2017," UBS analysts said in a note on Thursday. "Audi's solid momentum is a clear positive for Volkswagen group."

($1 = 0.8764 euros) (Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Mark Potter)