Audi sees small 2023 sales lift ahead of big 2024 EV push- sales chief

A man walks past a logo of German automobile manufacturer Audi ahead of the launch of the Audi Q8 e-tron and the Audi Q8 Sportback e-tron electric SUVs in Mumbai

By Christina Amann

MUNICH (Reuters) - Audi should see a small sales bump this year ahead of a much stronger year in 2024 for the Volkswagen unit as its long-awaited big electric vehicle push takes off, a top executive said on Monday at Munich's IAA mobility show.

"It won't be the big leap yet," in 2023, sales chief Hildegard Wortmann said. "We need a little more time for that."

Audi is belatedly working to catch up with German rivals BMW and Mercedes in the transition to electric.

Audi has fewer electric models in its lineup than either rival. While sales of Audi's three fully-electric models grew by 50% in the first half of 2023, sales more than doubled at BMW and almost doubled at Mercedes - with both selling far more EVs than Audi.

But over the next two years, Audi plans around 20 new models, half of which will be electric.

The first of those models is the electric version of the Q6, which Audi is presenting at the Munich car show.

Audi has struggled recently in China, though is hoping to boost business via a cooperation with Chinese carmaker SAIC.

Wortmann said Audi achieved growth of around 2% in China in the first half of the year, adding that it is still too early to say how the carmaker will perform there overall in 2023.

"But I'm sure we can hold our ground there," Wortmann said.

(Writing By Nick Carey; reporting by Christina Amann; Editing by Sharon Singleton)