INGOLSTADT, Germany -- Audi aims for a "slight" increase in revenue this year after Europe's slumping market hit the brand's 2012 earnings.
Audi's operating profit rose 0.6 percent to 5.38 billion euros ($6.99 billion) in 2012 while net profit fell 2 percent to 4.35 billion euros, the automaker said today.
Revenue improved 11 percent to 48.8 billion euros. Operating profit as a percentage of sales was 11 percent, slightly above its long-term target range of between 8 percent and 10 percent. The company said it expected to reach an operating margin at the upper end of its long-term target in 2013.
Audi forecasts higher deliveries this year on demand for the next-generation A3 Sportback introduced last month and the S3 performance version of the model coming out this summer. A sedan version of the A3, which the automaker is targeting at American and Chinese buyers, is set to reach showrooms later this year.
Audi is Volkswagen Group's main profit driver, contributing about 40 percent to VW Group earnings.
Audi stood by a goal to beat last year's record 1.46 million vehicle sales in 2013 and increase deliveries to more than 2 million by 2020. The brand aims to snatch the luxury-sales crown from rival BMW in 2020.
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler refrained from giving a concrete profit forecast at Audi's annual news conference today at the brand's headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany, merely saying that 2013 "will be at least as challenging" as last year.
"We will grow further in 2013," Stadler said, adding that Audi expected to reach 1.5 million annual unit sales earlier than planned. Audi initially wanted to reach that mark in 2015.
Audi is grappling with the impact of slumping auto demand in core European markets. "Overall development in western Europe was recessive and economic output contracted," Chief Financial Officer Axel Strotbek said.