Audi has become the UK’s fourth best-selling auto-maker, behind Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen.
Already this year’s sales match the 2012 record of more than 123,000, and are expected to hit a total of between 140,000 and 145,000 by year’s end.
This has been achieved without a single model appearing in the top-10 list of best-sellers. “We are not dependent on any single model and have no overheated segments,” Audi says.
Instead, Audi has progressed by constantly adding to its product portfolio. In 2001 it had a range of just 17 models. Today the total is 47, and this will grow to 60 by 2015.
“We have been building to this since 1967,” Audi says. “We now have our strongest demand ever. Customers are voting with their feet. There is a flight to premium, and premium is where the profits are made.”
Audi now commands a 6.4% share of the UK market compared to 5.9% for BMW and 4.8% for Mercedes-Benz.
But the company is not complacent. It knows that model cycles can shift the balance in any year. The BMW 3 Series is younger than the Audi A4, for instance, and next year there will be a new Mercedes C-Class to put pressure on both.
And Audi’s ultimate growth will be restricted by supply. “Most of the cars we sell have a bespoke spec. We hardly ever order for stock. The problems we face are those of supply, not demand,” the company says.
A third of all Audis sold in the UK are all-wheel-drive quattro models, and an increasing number are high-performance RS versions.
Audi will soon take its tally of RS models to seven with the RS7 and its first super-fast SUV, the RS Q3. The RS7 is powered by a 556bhp 4.0-litre V8 engine and is priced at just under £83,500, while the RS Q3 has a 306bhp 2.5-litre five-cylinder power unit and costs £43,000.
RS models account for between 3% and 5% of all sales with some ranges, and Audi expects to sell more than 1,100 of them in the UK this year.