July 30, 2015 / 8:55 AM / 4 years ago

Audi cuts 2015 car sales outlook on China

An Audi logo is seen on the radiator grill of an Audi vehicle at a car dealer in Eching near Munich March 9, 2015. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

BERLIN (Reuters) - Audi (VOWG_p.DE) lowered its global sales forecast because of slumping demand in China, the luxury-car brand’s biggest market.

Volkswagen’s flagship division said on Thursday it expected deliveries to increase between 3 and 4 percent this year from the record 1.74 million sales in 2014.

Two months ago, Audi still guided for a significant gain in 2015 global volume, which a spokesman said at the time translated into growth of between 5 and 9.9 percent.

Ingolstadt-based Audi is following its parent VW, which on Wednesday trimmed its China sales outlook while holding out the possibility of lower profit from its two joint ventures in the world’s biggest car market.

China, destination of about a third of Audi’s 902,400 first-half global sales, will turn “into a bumpy road in the next few months”, sales chief Christian Klingler said during an earnings call.

Separately, Audi posted a 9.1 percent gain in first-half operating profit, benefiting from growing sales in the higher-margin European market even as launch costs for new models such as the Q7 SUV and A4 saloon weigh on results.

The brand kept its guidance for higher revenue this year, after “strong momentum” from the weaker euro, and stuck to its 8-10 percent operating profit margin target.

Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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