Audi AG, the luxury arm of German auto giant Volkswagen AG, announced yesterday that it would launch its top-notch model - the 6.0-litre and long-wheelbase Audi A8 - in China by the end of this year.
Kevin McCann, head of Audi's China operation, said the move was part of the company's efforts to extend all product lines in the country, in order to meet Chinese customers' increasing demand for luxury cars and competition from its rivals.
The announcement came after the company launched the 2.8 and 4.2-litre Audi A8s in China in May.
The company said the prices of the 6.0-litre Audi A8 would range from 1.8 million yuan (US$216,860) to 2.1 million yuan (US$253,000) in China, depending on the model.
Analysts say the launch of the Audi A8 was expected to intensify competition on the Chinese sedan market.
Audi's competitors, - BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce & Bentley, are pursuing a bigger Chinese market share or at least seeking the possibility of manufacturing in the country.
McCann said Chinese customers had ordered 40, 6.0-litre Audi A8s so far and that delivery was scheduled for before the end of the year.
He said Audi AG aimed to sell 400 units of the A8 modles this year in China.
The company also plans to introduce its other models, such as the Audi A4, TT and Quattro, and related components into the country.
China has become Audi's largest market in Asia. Last year, around 18,000 Audi sedans were sold in China, including 16,000 Audi A6s, produced by the Changchun-based FAW Volkswagen, a joint venture between China's First Automotive Works and Volkswagen AG.
The company said more than 15,000 Audi sedans had been sold on the Chinese market so far this year, a 79 percent increase over the same period in 2000.
The 6.0-litre Audi A8 comes with an all-aluminum engine which can satisfy the European III emission standard.
(China Daily 08/23/2001)