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Audi says six month auto sales rise above 500,000 for 1st time

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP-CP) _ Luxury automaker Audi AG sold more than 500,000 cars in the first half of this year, its best performance to date, the company said Thursday.

The Ingolstadt-based unit of Volkswagen AG said it sold 509,000 cars between January and June, up 9.8 per cent from 463,508 a year earlier.

June sales totalled 88,000, including 844 in Canada, 11 per cent more than the same month last year.

Sales were up 19.7 per cent in Canada over June last year, according to figures from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc.

Six-month sales rose 76.3 per cent in Russia, where Audi sold 7,272 vehicles.

They were up more than four per cent in Canada, where the company sold 4,140 vehicles, and 13 per cent in the United States, where the company sold 45,711 cars, although U.S. sales in June were down 3.1 per cent at 7,789.

First-half sales rose 19.3 per cent in Britain and 25 per cent in Sweden, Audi said.

``This result means that we have a cushion for the second half of the year, which is usually weaker for the whole market and which for us will be dominated by an important model change,'' Audi marketing and sales director Ralph Weyler said in a statement.

He said Audi expects to sell one million cars annually by 2008. Last year, Audi sold 905,188 cars, a record high.

Shares of Audi gained 0.09 per cent to 550.50 euros (US$749.58) Thursday in Frankfurt.

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Audi says six month auto sales rise above 500,000 for 1st time
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