Audi Sales Held Back by Slim Inventory

By Colin Bird  on April 29, 2011

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You would think setting sales records month after month would be a good thing, but it’s also had a negative side effect for luxury brand Audi. There aren't enough cars on lots for all the shoppers walking in the door to buy.

Audi’s 227 dealerships collectively have about 10,000 cars on their lots, which is equivalent to a 27-day supply for the entire lineup. A 60-day supply is considered healthy, according to Ward’s Auto.

That situation is somewhat of a mixed-blessing, said Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi America. At least people want Audi vehicles, but the situation is causing some shoppers to desert the brand. Audi cannot satisfy demand for its A4, A5, Q5 and Q7 crossovers, or the redesigned A8 flagship; all these models have less than a 20-day supply.

Such short supply means the desired vehicle — right trim, powertrain and color — often aren’t available without custom ordering it from the factory and waiting for delivery. Audi says preorders make up 31% of sales currently. That’s not a good thing because many car shoppers don’t like purchasing a vehicle in this manner. “[It’s] unsustainable because we’re losing business … and some of our dealers are unprofitable,” de Nysschen told Wards Auto. He also added that his company could be selling twice as many diesel Q7 crossovers if they were available.

Audi hopes the rollout of the 2012 Audi A6 and A7 will take pressure on some off of its more constrained models. The 2012 Audi A7 went on sale earlier this month, and the A6 goes on sale later this summer. However, we don't see how that will please Q5 fans who might be prefer to buy a new BMW X3 or Volvo XC60 rather than waiting for a Q5.

Audi Constrained by Vehicle Supply (Wards Auto)

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