Published on May 10th, 2021 | by Subhash Nair0
Audi Group Had A Strong Q1 2021 Globally
Audi Malaysia may be struggling, but globally, the Audi Group had a strong first quarter.
Audi Group had a strong start to 2021, with China and US showing the best performance. Compared to the first quarter of 2020, the Group delivered 31% more cars, with 462,828 cars in customer hands from January 2021 to March 2021. The numbers were especially good in the USA and China, where they delivered a record-breaking 55,000 and 207,386 in one quarter. Crazy to think that the gulf between their top two markets is so wide.
Net cash flow reach €3.1 billion and operating return on sales was at 10%. This success followed the debut of the Audi e-tron GT and Audi Q4 e-tron, which put it on the path to becoming a premium electric mobility provider.
Here’s the press release with more numbers and facts.
The Audi Group has carried the impetus of the year-end surge over to the first months of 2021: in the opening quarter, deliveries, sales revenue, and operating profit increased significantly compared to the previous year’s figures, which were marked by the pandemic. The operating return on sales was 10.0 percent. Following solid year-end figures, Audi started the new year successfully, with strong business in China and the USA. Thanks to consistent discipline in investments and costs, as well as effects deriving from the previous quarter, net cash flow reached a high level at €3.1 billion (S$5 billion) and confirmed once again the financial strength of the Four Rings. With the world premieres of the fully electric Audi e-tron GT and Audi Q4 e-tron families of models in February and April, Audi is also significantly raising the pace on its way to becoming a premium provider of electric mobility.
Between January and March the company delivered 462,828 vehicles (2020: 352,993) of the Audi brand to customers, over 31 percent more than in the pandemic-influenced previous year. The Four Rings therefore progressed better than the total worldwide market for cars, which rose by around 20 percent. Continuing strong customer demand shows that the company is well positioned with its present product portfolio. In the first three months, the premium manufacturer Audi achieved a clear increase in comparison to the previous year, especially with its Q models and in the upper-range vehicle categories. Deliveries of the Audi e-tron models were one quarter higher than in the year before (+27 %).
Differences between the sales regions are apparent: in the Chinese market, the brand with the Four Rings achieved the best quarter in its company history (207,386 vehicles). In the USA, too, Audi had the best start to a year in the history of the company: with almost 55,000 deliveries, the brand handed over more cars to customers than ever before in the first quarter. In Europe, as a result of the effects of the continuing corona pandemic and associated restrictions, and also due to shortages of semi-conductors, the Four Rings concluded the first quarter of 2021 slightly below the previous year (-6.1%).
In the course of this positive trend in volume, sales revenue in the opening quarter reached €14,067 million (S$22,675 million) (2020: €12,454 million (S$20,075 million)) and was thus 12.9 percent above the previous year. The models Audi Q7, Audi Q8, Audi e-tron and Audi A6 were extremely successful in the USA and China. In Europe, sales of the Audi Q3 had an especially favorable effect on revenue. Sales revenues of Lamborghini also exceeded the already high level of the previous year at €509 million (S$820 million) (2020: €483 million (S$778 million)).
Operating profit significantly higher than in the previous year
For the first three months of the year, the Audi Group produced an operating profit of €1,404 million (S$2,263 million) (2020: €15 million (S$24 million)). The operating return on sales revenue increased to 10.0 percent (2020: 0.1 percent). The high level of profits and profit margin reflects both the strong operating performance and positive valuation effects in ensuring raw materials supplies, amounting to €0.7 billion (S$1.1 billion) compared to the previous year’s quarter. Favorable influences on profitability in the opening quarter also derived from advantageous price and mix effects, for example a significant fall in sales support measures.
“A driver of the transformation”
A main theme of the first quarter was the e-roadmap: with the world premieres of the Audi e-tron GT series in February and the Audi Q4 e-tron series in mid-April, Audi has increased the number of fully electric models in its product range. The electric portfolio has therefore been expanded through the addition of four more models: the e-tron GT quattro, RS e-tron GT, Q4 e-tron, and Q4 Sportback e-tron. With the Audi Q4 e-tron series, the company presented its first all-electric car in the compact segment. In addition to being produced in the multi-brand Volkswagen plant in Zwickau, the Q4 e-tron is also based on the “modular electrification toolkit” (MEB) of the Volkswagen Group, which provides a highly versatile and variable platform for many fully electric models. With the Q4 e-tron, Audi is using the high level of synergies in the Volkswagen Group.
For the first quarter, the Audi Group posted pre-tax profits amounting to €1,689 million (S$2,722 million) (2020: €545 million (S$878 million)). The financial result declined to €285 million (S$459 million) (2020: €530 million (S$854 million)). In comparison to the previous year, the reason for this fall is the sale within the Volkswagen Group of Audi Electronics Venture GmbH, which had made a positive contribution to the financial result in the first quarter of 2020. This former Audi subsidiary is the basis of the software unit of the Volkswagen Group, which now operates under the new brand name CARIAD. In contrast to this, strong business in China had a positive impact on the financial result.
Strong net cash flow
In the first quarter, net cash flow reached €3,085 million (S$4,972 million) (2020: €952 million (S$1,534 million)), underlining the high self-financing capability of the Audi Group. Alongside solid profitability and continued discipline in investment, the Four Rings also benefited from the delayed effects of the high-volume fourth quarter. In December especially, deliveries were at a very high level, meaning that some incoming payments were shifted into the first quarter of 2021.
The company continues to be cautiously optimistic about the coming months. In addition to the effects of the corona pandemic, the situation with regard to semi-conductor supplies is still tight. Thus the forecast remains unchanged: for the year 2021 as a whole, the Audi Group expects deliveries and sales revenue to be significantly above the previous year’s figures. The company’s planning foresees an operating return on sales of between 7 and 9 percent. For net cash flow, the Audi Group expects a figure between €3.5 and 4.5 billion (S$5.6 and 7.3 billion).