Audi sales worldwide increased by 2,1 per cent to more than 741 000 units last year. As a result, the Ingolstadt company achieved a new sales record for the seventh year in a row.

Audi sales worldwide increased by 2,1 per cent to more than 741 000 units last year. As a result, the Ingolstadt company achieved a new sales record for the seventh year in a row.

Despite what is widely perceived as a flattening out of global automotive markets, Audi recorded rising unit sales in virtually all of its key markets. In South Africa, 7 395 units were sold in 2002.

CARtoday.com reported on Wednesday that sales of Volkswagen and Audi vehicles were solid in December and enabled the Uitenhage-based company to finish the year as leader in the passenger sector of the South African market.

"Car sales during 2002 performed remarkably well, with us retailing 53 234 Volkswagen and Audi units for a full year passenger market share of 23 per cent. In December our market share across both brands was 25,1 per cent, with total passenger retail figures of 3 974," Volkswagen SA sales and marketing director Jolyon Nash said.

In Western Europe, 549 800 Audi cars were sold (up 0,3 per cent). In Germany, the company sold more than 243 600 Audi models (down 4.4 per cent).

However, Audi's sales volume rose by 21 per cent in Great Britain to more than 65 500 units, by 6,6 per cent in Italy to approximately 50 100 and by 0,7 per cent in France to around 40 800. In Spain, more than 41 000 Audi models were sold (down 2,5 per cent).

Approximately 85 700 Audi models were sold in the US, an increase of 2,9 per cent. In Japan, sales soared by 42,7 per cent to 11 600 vehicles. Audi sold 94 600 vehicles (up 8,9 per cent) in the rest of the world. The company was successful in China where vehicle sales (including Hong Kong) reached 36 500 cars (up 24,8 per cent).