The Audi Q5 SUV Led Big Gains in 2013http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/01/04/the-hot-q5-suv-drives-a-big-year-for-audi.aspx John Rosevear
January 4, 2014
German luxury-car maker Audi says its U.S. sales set a new record in 2013.
Audi has lagged behind its German rivals in the U.S. for years, but it has been on a tear recently. December was the 36th consecutive month in which it set a U.S. sales record, the company said in a statement on Friday. Its U.S. sales were up 13.5% in 2013.
That's good news for Audi's corporate parent, German giant Volkswagen (NASDAQOTH: VLKAY). Audi is a massive source of profits for VW, and a key part of its plan to become the world's largest automaker by 2018.
So what's driving Audi's success in the U.S.? In one word or less: SUVs.
Luxury SUVs are a very profitable trend for Audi
But now, they're seen as a massively profitable category of products. Not just in the U.S., but in China as well, where luxury SUVs have become a white-hot growth category.
And Audi has taken full advantage. Audi is the leader of China's booming luxury-vehicle market, thanks in no small part to its SUVs. Those SUVs are playing well here in the U.S., too.
Audi says that U.S. sales of its mid-sized Q5 SUV were up over 32% in December, and up 40.8% for the full year. The large (and expensive) Q7 posted even bigger gains: Up over 52% in December, and up 45.1% for all of 2013.
But SUVs alone aren't driving Audi's success here in the U.S. More buyers are also opting for some of the brand's most profitable products: Large sedans.
Audi's big sedans are gaining ground, too
But Audi's larger cars made outsized gains in 2013. Sales of Audi's mid-sized A6 were up 43% in December, and up 18.1% for the full year.
Audi says that sales of its higher