Europe is slowly getting back on its feet after managing to flatten the COVID-19 curve. Automakers such as Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Lamborghini, Volkswagen, as well as Ferrari have restarted their factories in order to build cars once more.
But despite being able to weather the storm, Audi's initial figures for the first quarter of 2020 are not looking good.
For starters, Audi was only able to generate EUR 12.5 billion in revenue. Now while that may look impressive, it's actually lower than last year's first quarter wherein Audi raked in EUR 13.8 billion. Not only that, but Audi sold fewer cars in Q1 of 2020 at only 352,993 units; a huge difference compared to Q1 of 2019 which saw Audi deliver 447,247 to new owners.
With a lower revenue and fewer vehicles sold, global sales of Audi fell 21.1% in the first three months of this year. Meanwhile, operating profit is only EUR 15 million (last year's operating profit in the same period was at EUR 1.1 billion) due to low customer demand.
Not everything was bad, though. Audi mentioned that since they were able to close production early in the year, they were able to protect jobs, and safeguard the company's liquidity which is currently at EUR 18.8 billion, slightly lower than last year's EUR 21.7 billion value. In addition, they were also able to reduce research and development expenditure thanks to greater use of synergies with parent company Volkswagen Auto Group.
“We closed down our production capacities in a controlled manner and in doing so have protected jobs at our sites in Germany thanks to short-time working. The health of our employees and their families has always been and still is our top priority. At the same time, during this phase when the markets are at a standstill, we have succeeded in protecting our liquidity and keeping core processes stable at our company also in the crisis,” said Arno Anilitz, member of the Audi Board of Management for Finance, China, and Legal Affairs.
Audi is still optimistic that sales will bounce back in the months to come, especially since factories in China were able to restart as early as February 17, 2020, and are now back to regular volumes. As for the European factories, Audi states that most are gradually ramping up production since the end of April 2020 and all have taken precautions to protect the employees' health and safety.
The company did mention that they anticipate not being able to meet target figures this year, as well as see negative growth for the global economy. What could this mean for PGA Cars, the official distributor of Audi cars in the country? With local demand yet to increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic, overall vehicle sales of Audi in the country might also take a while to pick up. There might also be delays in customer delivery as Audi is just getting back to assembling cars in Ingolstadt.