Audi CEO Stadler is positive on China recovery

HAMBURG (Bloomberg) — Audi CEO Rupert Stadler says the market in China is showing signs of recovery after more customers visited the automaker’s showrooms in August.

Audi is confident that the country’s growing middle class will ensure its car market keeps growing in the mid-to long-term, Stadler said.

Audi’s Chinese sales slumped 13 percent in July, the third straight monthly drop, causing the automaker to lower its global sales expectations.

“We have once again quite good showroom traffic, at least as much as August is concerned,” Stadler said said at a meeting here on Tuesday.

“But one swallow does not make a summer,” he added, refusing to give a forecast for full-year Chinese sales.

Though more customers are shopping, and attractive financing has helped push purchases, discounts on cars continued to rise in August, according to a report on Wednesday from analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein.

Audi is particularly exposed to the slowdown in China, the unit’s biggest sales region.

In July, Audi abandoned a target to sell 600,000 cars in China this year, which would have represented a 3.6 percent increase.

Other carmakers including BMW, the global luxury-market leader, have also cut prices and adjusted production. The slowdown happened “much faster than we expected,” BMW Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner said last week.

“We should wait out the undulation in China,” Stadler said. “We will see growth again.”

Reuters contributed to this report

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