Audi awards LG Chem pact for plug-in hybrid batteries

Audi's first plug-in hybrid, the A3 Sportback e-tron, went on sale in Europe in June.

SEOUL (Reuters) -- South Korea's LG Chem says it has won an order from Audi to supply batteries for the automaker's growing lineup of plug-in hybrids.

LG Chem said the deal was "worth hundreds of millions of dollars" but declined to give further details. It said it expected to win more such orders from Audi parent Volkswagen Group in the future.

LG Chem, which has secured a total of 20 customers including General Motors, says it aims to achieve combined sales of over 10 trillion Korean won ($9.8 billion) from large-sized batteries by 2018.

Audi began European sales of its first plug-in hybrid, the A3 Sportback e-tron, in June and the automaker plans to add at least three further plug-in hybrid models, Automotive News Europe reported.

U.S. sales of the A3 Sportback e-tron, a compact hatchback, are expected to begin in the second or third quarter of 2015, while China deliveries will start in the first or second quarter of next year.

Audi is betting on the versatility of plug-in hybrids that can be driven independently by electric or standard combustion power, to win customers looking for environmentally friendly vehicles.

In 2015, the automaker will launch a plug-in hybrid variant of its large Q7 SUV, to be followed by plug-in hybrid versions of its flagship A8 model and an A6 long-wheelbase sedan for the Chinese market.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report

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