October 25, 2021

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Audi CEO says brand’s EVs are almost as profitable as its other cars

After, oh, a hundred years or so of building vehicles primarily powered by internal combustion engines, automakers around the world have been and still are pumping billions of dollars into the development of electric vehicle technology. Everything from platforms and batteries to motors and the software to control it all requires untold hours of development, and that takes time and money. Fortunately, it’s not going to take long for that massive investment to start paying off, at least according to Audi CEO Markus Duesmann, who told Reuters in an interview that “The point where we earn as much money with electric cars as with combustion engine cars is now, or … next year, 2023. They are very even now, the prices.”

As a brand, Audi contributed more than a quarter of overall profit for the massive Volkswagen Group, which has such powerhouse brands as Volkswagen and Porsche among others. Under the Audi umbrella are Lamborghini, Bentley and Ducati, and it seems those high-end branches aren’t going anywhere, at least for now. “These brands … are very valuable very profitable brands, where we can even expand the synergy level in the future,” Duesmann said in the interview. “There are no plans whatsoever to get rid of them.”

Despite the overall profitability of the brand, the ongoing global chip crisis is causing headaches. “We had a very strong first half in 2021. We do expect a much weaker second half,” said Duesmann, who added, “We really have trouble.” In fact, so serious is the trouble that the brand is forced into “a day-to-day troubleshooting process” to limit the chip-shortage damage. The good news for the automaker is that Audi has been able to boost its profit margin from 8% prior to the pandemic in 2019 to 10.7% in the first half of 2021. The bad news is that various chip shortages aren’t expected to get a whole lot better over the rest of the year.

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