FRANKFURT (Bloomberg) Audi will upgrade its top-of-the-line A8 later this year to compete with a new generation of the Mercedes-Benz S class.
The A8 will be equipped with new LED headlights as part of its push to set a new sales record this year, the Ingolstadt-based unit of Volkswagen Group said today in a statement. The carmaker also plans to outfit A3 models with high-speed wireless technology to boost appeal.
Audi reiterated today that revenue will increase "slightly" this year on demand for the Q3 and Q5 SUVs and the new-generation A3 line, which is being expanded to include a sedan version that will be sold in Europe, China and the United States.
The carmaker, which ranks No. 2 in global premium car sales and has a goal of surpassing No. 1 BMW by the end of the decade, plans to sell more than 1.5 million vehicles for the first time in 2013, two years earlier than its initial target.
"We're investing heavily in new products, developing leading-edge technology and expanding our global production network," CFO Axel Strotbek said in the statement. "Despite challenging economic conditions, we're sticking to our goals," including operating profit at the upper end of its range of a 8 percent to 10 percent of sales.
To hold off Daimler AG's Mercedes and overtake BMW, Audi needs to improve its appeal for the the wealthiest car buyers. Audi trails competitors in the executive-sedan segment. The carmaker delivered 38,600 A8s last year, compared with 80,300 S-class vehicles and 59,200 BMW 7-series cars.