2008 was a tough year, but apparently it wasn't equally as tough for everybody. Audi has now reported that it broke through the 1 million unit mark last year, selling more vehicles than it ever has before.

Total global sales in 2008 came to 1,003,400 vehicles – up 4.3% over last year – including 82,000 units in December. But while the American market has typically been a vital region for European premium marques especially, U.S. sales dropped 6.1% for Audi this year, and nearly 10% in December when U.S. sales accounted for less than 10% of the company's global sales. Ingolstadt attributes its sales success to the dozen new models it introduced last year, including the Q5 and A4 (seen above). Thanks to everyone who sent in the tip, and check out the press release after the jump.

[Source: Audi]


PRESS RELEASE:

AUDI AG Records Sales of Over One Million Cars for the First Time

- Company achieves 13th record year in a row
- Worldwide unit sales increased by 4.1 percent
- 12 new models helped boost unit sales
- Audi Chairman Stadler: "We want to make Audi the most attractive premium brand worldwide"

INGOLSTADT, Germany, Jan 8, 2009 - AUDI AG has achieved its stated objective of selling one million cars in 2008 for the first time in its history. With about 1,003,400 cars sold worldwide, Audi increased its unit sales volume by 4.1 percent over the prior year (2007: 964,151). With the newly introduced Audi Q5 and the successful young A4 family, sales in December increased by 17.4 percent over the prior year's December, to around 82,800 units (2007: 70,523).

"This 13th record year in a row is a success achieved by the entire Audi team. I would like to express the gratitude of the Board of Management for your wholehearted commitment," says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. "We'll continue to draw on this strength in the difficult year of 2009. We have ambitious long-term goals: We want to make Audi the most attractive premium brand worldwide."

In the past year, the Ingolstadt-based firm has launched 12 new or upgraded models. This gives Audi the advantage of having the youngest model range in the premium segment. The most important introductions were the Audi A4 sedan, which was rolled out in Europe in November 2007, the Audi A4 Avant which followed in April, product upgrades of the A3 and A6, and the brand-new Audi Q5.

"We will keep up our model initiative as planned: In 2009 we'll continue to offer our customers a succession of new models," says Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management for Marketing and Sales of AUDI AG.

Audi achieved growth especially in the European markets and in the Asia-Pacific region. In Western Europe, unit sales of around 53,900 in December surpassed the prior year's December by 22.7 percent (2007: 43,969). In the entire year of 2008, Audi sold some 667,000 cars in this region, 2.5 percent more than in the prior year (2007: 650,407). These excellent sales volumes also resulted in record market shares in Western Europe and Germany.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Audi delivered new cars to around 14,000 customers in December, an increase of 15.6 percent in unit sales (2007: 12,097). During the entire year, 155,100 customers bought an Audi in this region – 15.6 percent more than in 2007.

In the USA, the third-largest export market for the premium brand from Ingolstadt, sales of 87,760 cars in 2008 amounted to a 6.1 percent drop from the prior year (2007: 93,506). In December Audi sold 7,712 units here, 9.3 percent fewer than in the prior year (2007: 8,504).

AUDI AG sold a total of 1,003,400 cars in 2008 and thus achieved its thirteenth consecutive record year. Audi produces vehicles in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm (Germany), Györ (Hungary), Changchun (China) and Brussels (Belgium). Aurangabad in India saw the start of local production of the Audi A6 at the end of 2007 and of the Audi A4 in early October 2008. The company is active in more than 100 markets worldwide. AUDI AG's wholly owned subsidiaries include Automobili Lamborghini Holding S.p.A. in Sant'Agata Bolognese (Italy) and quattro GmbH in Neckarsulm. Audi currently employs around 57,000 people worldwide, including 45,000 in Germany. The brand with the four rings invests more than €2 billion each year in order to sustain the company's technological lead embodied in its "Vorsprung durch Technik" slogan. Audi plans to significantly increase the number of models in its portfolio by 2015 to 40. The Audi brand celebrates its 100th birthday in 2009. The company was founded by August Horch in Zwickau on July 16, 1909; he named it Audi after the Latin translation of his surname ("hark!").

AUDI AG will present the complete results for the 2008 business year at its Annual Press Conference on March 10, 2009 in Ingolstadt.