Champion Lucas di Grassi back on the podium

His team mate Daniel Abt was exceptionally unlucky. The Mexico City winner fought his way from fifth on the grid to third in the first half of the race. After swapping cars, he had to pit for a second time because the seatbelts came undone. “We have to find out how this happened,” said Daniel Abt, who crossed the line in 14th place. “The seat belts were closed, but after two laps they were suddenly open.”

“Daniel’s problem with the belts cost us a double podium and was a huge disappointment for him,” said Team Principal Allan McNish. “It’s positive that we got both cars to the finish and that Lucas took his first podium of the season after having scored his first points in Mexico. His fight with Jean-Eric Vergne for the lead was incredibly intense and exciting from the first to the last lap. On one occasion I thought now Lucas is through, but Jev drove a strong race as well.”

“It was a close, hard fight between the two,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “Unfortunately there was no way to get by Jean-Eric Vergne, even though Lucas tried often. Today he needed the fan boost that Daniel had. Even though more was possible, we can be satisfied with the performance this weekend. The reliability was also there. We look forward positively to the rest of the season.”

The first European Formula E race of the 2017/2018 season is held in Rome (Italy) on April 14. After the first half of the season, Daniel Abt is seventh in the standings, Lucas di Grassi improved to tenth in Punta del Este. Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is sixth in the teams’ classification. 

Fully integrated: 50th Audi R8 LMS GT4 produced at Böllinger Höfe

“We take pride in this achievement of being able to build the race car in such close combination with the production model,” says Wolfgang Schanz, Head of Production Audi Sport GmbH. “This yields maximum synergies for the entire Audi Sport brand.” Currently, one Audi R8 LMS GT4 is driven out of the assembly halls per day. Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing: “Our customers directly benefit from these advantages. We offer the ready-to-race model at a price below 200,000 euros. In return, the teams receive a new race car in premium quality, as the one-two class win of the Audi R8 LMS GT4 by customer team Phoenix Racing in the 24-hour race in Dubai in January proved.” 

The Audi R8 LMS GT4 will be competing this season in various series and single events in America, Asia, Australia and Europe. Two one-make cups open up attractive fielding opportunities for GT4 customers as well: The Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup includes a class for this model and the Audi Sport Seyffarth R8 LMS Cup is exclusively dedicated to this car. 

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Audi achieves robust performance in a challenging financial year 2017 and accelerates business transformation

“In 2017, we demonstrated entrepreneurial strength and above all formulated a determined master plan for the coming years,” says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. “We intend to play a leading role in the tremendous upheaval facing our industry. By 2022 alone, we have planned more than €40 billion for development activities and investment. We are making Audi fit for this mission with our Action and Transformation Plan.”

Audi’s Action and Transformation Plan aims to achieve positive earnings effects totaling €10 billion by 2022 and to accelerate the organizational realignment for future business models. “We are implementing our program of measures quickly and systematically, we are becoming more efficient and we are investing freed-up resources in new, profitable growth. This has already allowed us to decide four additional new models and derivatives with an unchanged budget,” says Alexander Seitz, Member of the Board of Management for Finance, IT and Integrity. Audi remains committed to the target return on sales of 8 to 10 percent also in view of the general increase in upfront expenditures for the future. With the Action and Transformation plan, process efficiency in technical development for example is to improve by up to 30 percent, partially as a result of intensified virtual development. With regard to the intensive transformation phase throughout the Group, Audi has increased its budget for further training by a third to a total of more than €0.5 billion by 2025.

The technological vanguard for the Action and Transformation Plan is the Audi Aicon. Presented at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, this study stands for Audi’s vision of future premium mobility and value creation. Following that inspiration, Audi has established the development of a luxurious, fully electric and fully connected long-distance lounge in its long-term model planning.

The Four Rings have significantly broadened their electrification roadmap across the entire model portfolio. For the electric mobility of tomorrow, the brand is collaborating closely with Porsche and Volkswagen. This will result in vehicle architectures that are uncompromisingly tailored for electric driving, and which allow major synergies within the VW Group. Already in 2025, Audi will offer more than 20 electrified models that will account for one third of unit sales. As a sporty spearhead, the premium manufacturer announced at its annual press conference a highly dynamic, four-door Gran Turismo with purely electric drive. Production will start early in the coming decade at the Böllinger Höfe site near Neckarsulm. “We interpret sportiness very progressively with our fully electric e-tron GT, and this is how we will take our high-performance brand Audi Sport into the future,” says Stadler.

In China, the Four Rings set the course last year for a comprehensive market push. Together with its joint venture partner FAW, the company will significantly expand its model range, especially with regard to electric drive and sporty SUVs. Ten SUV versions without predecessors are planned for the coming five years, seven of which will be produced locally. This means that the Audi portfolio produced locally at FAW-VW will be more than doubled by 2022. With the joint establishment of a new sales company and a joint venture for mobility and digital services, Audi and the FAW Group are restructuring their business in China for the next growth phase. In addition, AUDI AG is in constructive talks with SAIC about future cooperation in order to further strengthen its involvement in the Chinese market.

With more than 20 market launches this year, Audi will manage the biggest model initiative in its history. The brand will present new automobiles in six of its core model series and successively start their production. Late this year, the Four Rings’ first fully electric series-produced model will be launched: the Audi e-tron. This SUV allows fast-charging at up to 150 kilowatts, making it ready for long-distance use again in less than half an hour. The e-tron will be produced completely CO2-neutral at the converted Brussels plant where also the model’s batteries will be assembled. Audi Hungaria is ready to start production of the SUV’s electric motor in Győr, Hungary.

With the conversion of the Brussels plant for the Audi e-tron, the brand is this year reorganizing the production network for important models in order to further optimize efficiency. Manufactured in Brussels today, the Audi A1 will be located in its next generation at the SEAT plant in Martorell, Spain. The Audi Q3 currently produced there will be assembled by Audi Hungaria after the model change. From early 2019 on, the A3 Sedan will be produced in cooperation between its current production site in Győr and the Ingolstadt plant. With regard to the numerous changes in the Audi portfolio and its production network, Seitz says: “2018 is an exceptional year and requires a feat of strength from Audi, which will pay off in the long term from 2019 on.”

In the past financial year, deliveries of Audi cars rose, despite the upcoming generation changeovers for many models, by 0.6 percent to the all-time high of 1,878,105 automobiles (2016: 1,867,738). Whereas extraordinary effects in connection with the brand’s strategic alignment in China negatively impacted the first half of the year, the strong increase in global demand for SUVs and continued Audi growth in the declining US market had a positive effect on sales. Despite the unfavorable currency environment, the Audi Group’s revenue increased by 1.4 percent to €60,128 million in 2017 (2016: €59,317 million), surpassing the mark of €60 billion for the first time and more than doubling over the past eight years. In 2009, the Audi Group posted revenue of €29,840 million.

Operating profit before special items for 2017 amounts to €5,058 million, representing an increase of 4.4 percent (2016: €4,846 million). The operating return on sales before special items last year increased to 8.4 percent (2016: 8.2 percent) and was within the strategic target corridor of 8 to 10 percent. With the inclusion of business in China, which is presented under financial result, the operating margin would be one percentage point higher.

The SPEED UP! program initiated in 2016 to strengthen cost discipline in the short term resulted in a positive earnings effect of approximately €1 billion in 2017. This was mainly due to efficiency gains in research and development, as well as lower distribution costs. SPEED UP! was successfully completed at the end of the year and has been included in the Action and Transformation Plan.

With regard to the settlement agreements on the V6 3.0 TDI diesel issue in North America, in 2017 the Audi Group updated the measurement assumptions of provisions in its balance sheet against the backdrop of extensive and technically complex buyback and retrofit programs. This led to negative special items in an amount of €387 million. They include expenditure and provisioning for technical measures and legal risks. In the previous year, negative special items of €1,794 million were included in Audi’s consolidated financial statements. In addition to the V6 3.0 TDI diesel issue in North America, they were also related to potentially faulty Takata airbags. For the year 2017, the bottom line shows operating profit of €4,671 million (2016: €3,052 million) and an operating return on sales of 7.8 percent (2016: 5.1 percent). Audi achieved profit before tax of €4,783 million (2016: €3,047 million). The strong increase is due not only to lower negative special items, but also to the improved financial result.

In appreciation of their great commitment in the challenging 2017 financial year, Audi’s employees will participate in the company’s success. The Audi profit sharing bonus increases for a skilled worker at a plant in Germany to €4,770 (2016: €1,850 on average plus €1,300 special bonus). For Audi subsidiaries, respective arrangements for bonus payments have been established.

The Audi Group provided evidence of its high self-financing strength once again in 2017. In the context of its product initiative and reorganization of the production network, capital expenditure amounted to €3.9 (2016: €3.4) billion. At the same time, the company achieved a significantly positive net cash flow of €4.3 (2016: €2.1) billion. This key performance indicator was influenced by high one-time effects: the sale of a minority stake in Volkswagen Group Services S.A. (Belgium) had a positive impact, whereas expected cash outflows in connection with the diesel issue had a negative impact. Also after adjusting for these opposing extraordinary effects, net cash flow was higher than in the previous year.

In the current financial year, Audi plans to again achieve the 2017 record level of car deliveries, although the numerous model changes will at first have a dampening effect. Revenue should increase slightly. Implementing its Action and Transformation Plan, the company aims at an operating return on sales within the target corridor of 8 to 10 percent, despite high ramp-up costs and upfront expenditures for the future. With a consistent strategic focus and prioritization, Audi anticipates the ratio of research and development expenditure to revenue to be slightly above the strategic target corridor of 6.0 to 6.5 percent. The ratio of capital expenditure to revenue is expected to moderately exceed its target corridor of 5.0 to 5.5 percent. The net cash flow should be between €2.7 billion and €3.2 billion.

Overview of selected key figures of the Audi Group



Cars delivered Audi brand



Revenue in EUR million



Operating profit before special itemsin EUR million



Operating return on sales before special itemsin percent



Operating profit in EUR million



Operating return on sales in percent



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Ducati Group: Growing sales, turnover and results

The Audi Group financial data for 2017, in which Ducati represents the motorcycling segment, was released during the annual press conference held at the AUDI AG headquarters in Ingolstadt.

“This strong performance confirms the soundness of the product development strategy undertaken in recent years”, stated Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding. “In 2017 we laid the foundations for further, future development of the company. We launched seven new models on the market. Furthermore, we presented the Panigale V4, the first Ducati factory bike to mount a 4-cylinder engine, the outcome of the biggest investment Ducati has ever channelled into a single product. 2017 also saw further development of the Scrambler range. At EICMA the Scrambler brand presented the first completely new bike since its founding: the Scrambler 1100, which adds an all-new dimension to the Ducati Scrambler world by injecting big-bike technology, performance and ultra-high quality finishing.”

“The quality of the results underlines Ducati’s strong profitability and financial resilience”, commented André Stoffels, CFO of Ducati Motor Holding. “Even with significantly higher investment in product innovation, the global expansion of the Ducati sales network, digitalization of both our products and our core processes and, last but not least, our huge commitment to racing, we’ve still achieved an operating margin of 7%.”

At this time, Ducati Motor Holding has a total of 1,570 employees. The Ducati sales network has 780 dealerships in over 90 countries.

Automobili Lamborghini crosses billion Euro turnover threshold

Turnover exceeded one billion Euro for the first time in the company’s history, increasing from 906 Mio. Euro to 1,009 Mio. Euro (+11%). In spite of high upfront expenditures, Lamborghini also succeeded in reaching a sound positive operating result, confirming the robustness of its growth path. In preparation for market introduction of its third model line, the Super SUV Urus, the total headcount in 2017 increased from 1,415 to almost 1,600 employees.

Stefano Domenicali, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Automobili Lamborghini comments: “Lamborghini realized another record year and we are once more outperforming our financial objectives. This was achieved while mastering an unprecedented double challenge: preparing for new models in our super sports car range, while simultaneously doubling production capacities at our headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese, heralding a quantum leap in our product portfolio. This could not have been accomplished without our excellent team, which deserves all the credit.”

Lamborghini is a global brand and its sales distribution is well balanced among the three regions, which each account for approximately one third of global sales. All regions set historic sales records in 2017 and contributed to sales growth compared to the previous year: EMEA “Europe, Middle East, Africa” (1,477/+18%), America (1,338/+4%) and Asia Pacific (1,000/+9%).

With 1,095 units the USA confirms to be the largest single market, followed by Japan (411), UK (353), Germany (303), Greater China (265), Canada (211) and the Middle East (164). The deliveries increased significantly almost across the board and marked historic national sales records. Also both major model lines achieved record sales, thus contributing to the growth. Sales of the V12 Lamborghini Aventador grew by 6% from 1,104 to 1,173 units. Even stronger was the sales increase of the V10 model Lamborghini Huracán, growing by 12% from 2,353 to 2,642 units.

In 2017, four new models were launched. The new V12 models Aventador S Coupé and Roadster are setting benchmarks in technology and performance on both road and track. The new Lamborghini Huracán Performante combining new lightweight technologies, active aerodynamics with aero vectoring and a new set-up of chassis, all-wheel-drive system and further improved powertrain, set many lap records on international race tracks.

With Lamborghini Terzo Millennio concept car, the company gave an insight into a possible future Lamborghini electric super sports car. The project goal is to enable Lamborghini to address the future of the super sports car in five different dimensions: energy storage systems, innovative materials, propulsion system, visionary design, and emotion. The first two dimensions are conceived in collaboration with two laboratories at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.

With the new Super SUV Lamborghini Urus, presented in Sant’Agata Bolognese in December 2017, Lamborghini creates a new niche in the luxury segment with benchmarking power, performance and driving dynamics, unparalleled design, luxury and daily usability.

Automobili Lamborghini’s ongoing strategic investment program, aligned with the launch of the Urus, sees its production site now doubled in size and capacity. This is accompanied by state-of-the-art production systems (“Manifattura Lamborghini”) inside the new facilities, and new technologies applied at its factory headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese. As well as expanding the site from 80,000 m2 to 160,000 m2, the Urus brings about a substantial increase in the company’s production capacity, doubling it to more than 7,000 units a year as well as significantly increasing its workforce, with 500 new jobs already created.

Outlook 2018
The company confirms a confident outlook for the Fiscal Year 2018. With a young and attractive product portfolio as well as entry in the growing SUV segment Lamborghini sets fresh impetus for future growth. Especially the introduction of the Urus on the markets starting in spring 2018 opens new dimensions of unit sales, turnover and profitability for the company.

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