"The more dealerships I see, the clearer it is to me that we still have a great deal of catching up to do," Winterkorn said.
That explains why Audi took the eighth spot in the latest J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey in the US, he said. "In two years, at the latest, we want to be in the top five."
There is a business calculation behind the ambitious plan. "There is no question that we have to bring in more revenue per vehicle to improve our total results," he said.
On this count, Audi is still faring worse than Mercedes-Benz and BMW. "There is no longer a reason that an Audi should not cost as much as a comparable competitive vehicle," he said.
To excite customers' interest in extras, Winterkorn said he expects to expand the range of special luxury features that Audi offers. Despite lower investment costs, he said he also expects the number of model variations to increase greatly over the next five years.
Winterkorn confirmed that the company is working on a convertible based on the A3, as well as on an A5 coupe, a compact SUV and a sporty crossover vehicle.
"The trick will be introducing as many derivatives as possible into the market, with little money and at low cost," Winterkorn said.
Despite difficult business conditions in the US, he is sticking to Audi's sales goals. "I am convinced that we will sell significantly more cars this year than in 2004, and we will reach 1 million cars in 2008."