Assessment of third quarter of 2021
- Audi delivered 1.3 million vehicles during the first nine months of the year.
- Revenue of €40.4 billion, operating profit of €3.9 billion and an operating return of 9.5 percent
- Strong net cash flow of €7.9 billion
- Third-quarter development: shortage of semiconductors impacts deliveries and financial performance
- Adjusted forecast mirrors Audi’s attractive price position, robust positioning and cost discipline
Mr. Rittersberger, how do you assess the development of Audi during the first nine months of the year?
After nine months, the Audi Group is performing on a respectable level operatively and financially overall. When we look at the period January to September, deliveries, revenue, operating profit and especially net cash flow are all higher than they were last year under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic. However, as expected, during the third quarter we clearly felt the effects of the semiconductor shortage.
How did the supply of semiconductors impact the delivery volume?
We delivered 1,347,637 vehicles to our customers by the end of September. Even though demand continues to be high, we were not able to meet it completely in July, August and September owing to the semiconductor shortage. This is why deliveries in the third quarter dropped by 23.8 percent compared with the previous year. The prior-year quarter, however, had been boosted by a broad recovery of markets following the coronavirus lockdown. Overall we have a plus of 13.5 percent for the period January to September 2021 owing to our record deliveries during the first half of the year.
And it’s very encouraging that we observed positive developments during the first nine months in our important sales regions: Europe increased deliveries by 11.7 percent compared with last year, China by 9.9 percent, and the US market even reached a plus of 31.2 percent.
Which models sold particularly well?
Audi is pursuing a rigorous plan toward sustainable, profitable mobility. Our Roadmap E is in place and we are steadily increasing our range of fully electric premium models. In addition to the e-tron family, customers can now also purchase the Audi e-tron GT and the Audi Q4 e-tron. I’m convinced that with these cars, we have the right models in our portfolio, and our delivery figures confirm this: By the end of September, Audi had sold 52,774 fully electric vehicles. That’s more than double what we sold in the prior-year period. SUV models such as the fully electric Audi e-tron and the Audi Q5 continue to be especially popular.
How well did Audi manage operations during the first three quarters?
The semiconductor shortage had a strong influence on our delivery figures and finances during the third quarter. Nonetheless, looking at the first nine months we still achieved a significant plus in all our key performance indicators compared with the prior year.
For instance, revenue rose to 40 billion euros, driven by a strong price position and a high-value product mix. The very popular SUV models in particular had a positive impact on sales.
After nine months, our operating profit amounts to a solid 3.9 billion euros and our operating return has reached 9.5 percent. This means that we have reached our target corridor of 9 to 11 percent despite the challenging situation. That’s a great accomplishment on the part of the entire Audi team as well as a sign of strong operative performance. These figures also mirror the success of our continued cost discipline. Other major drivers of the high result and return levels are positive effects from the valuation of commodity hedges and currencies.
Thanks to this positive performance, our net cash flow rose to 7.9 billion euros and has thus more than doubled in comparison with last year. This strong rise is supported by our higher operating profit, positive effects from the ongoing optimization of our working capital and our investment discipline.
What developments do you expect during the last quarter of the year and thus for the year 2021 as a whole?
We assume that the semiconductor supply situation will remain critical over coming quarters. Audi is continuing to work intensively on countermeasures. We expect deliveries by the Audi Group to be about at the level of last year. Revenue is forecast somewhat higher than last year. The target corridor planned to date for the operating return on sales will be raised in response to our strong operative performance and our continued cost discipline: Audi expects returns between 9 and 11 percent. The forecast for net cash flow is now between 5.5 and 6.5 billion euros.
Audi Group in the third quarter 2021
January until September 2021
Deliveries Audi brand
(Operating margin: 9.5%)
Net cash flow