Audi Says 2006 Profit Soared 63% on Record Sales

Luxury car maker Audi said Wednesday its net profit rose 63% in 2006, lifted by record sales.

The Ingolstadt, Germany-based company said it earned 1.34 billion euros ($1.77 billion) in 2006 compared with 824 million euros in 2005. Audi did not provide fourth-quarter figures.

A record 905,188 vehicles sold helped the company increase revenue 17% to 31.14 billion euros ($41.2 billion).

That sent pretax profit up 49% to 1.95 billion euros ($2.58 billion). Operating profit advanced 43% to 2.02 billion euros ($2.67 billion).

"We are the fastest growing premium brand in the world," said Chief Executive Rupert Stadler, who took over in January after his predecessor, Martin Winterkorn, was named CEO of parent company Volkswagen. "This puts us well on our way to becoming the most successful premium car manufacturer in the world by 2015."

Stadler said Audi aims to sell more than 1 million cars in 2008 and expects sales this year to outpace last year's results with the introduction of its new A5 model sometime before June.

Audi shares gained nearly 2.3% to 500 euros ($661.50) in Frankfurt trading.

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