German carmaker Audi lowers sales forecast for 2019

German luxury car manufacturer Audi, a member of the Volkswagen Group, announced its third quarter (Q3) results on Thursday and lowered its sales forecast for a “challenging” year 2019.

Audi now anticipates a “slight growth” of deliveries for the year 2019 as a whole. In its second quarter report, Audi had expected “moderate growth.”

“2019 will not be a record year, but the Audi Group is in a solid position,” said Alexander Seitz, member of Audi’s Board of Management.

Between July and September, Audi delivered almost 451,000 cars, 8,000 units fewer than in the third quarter of the previous year.

Revenues decreased by 500 million euros (558.1 million U.S dollars) to 12.6 billion euros, mainly due to changing accounting practices at its parent company, the Volkswagen Group, Audi stated.

With an operating return on sales of 7.5 percent, Audi’s operating profit for Q3 was 938 million euros, more than eight times as much as in the same period last year, when the results had been “substantially impacted” by a fine of 800 million euros by the Munich public prosecutor’s office.

In 2018, Audi had accepted the fine for deviating from regulatory requirements by installing a switch-off software in its six and eight cylinder diesel vehicles, which lowered emissions in official tests.

On Thursday, Audi affirmed its forecast for the current year. The company expects an operating return on sales of between seven percent and 8.5 percent and a net cash flow of 2.5 billion euros to three billion euros in 2019.

Audi stressed that it had already overcome some “critical hurdles,” such as the changeover to the worldwide harmonized light vehicles test procedure (WLTP), and would now focus on continuing “to roll out our model initiative in the markets.”