March 1, 2012 / 9:11 AM / in 6 years

Audi aims for 2012 profit at yr-ago's record level

INGOLSTADT, Germany, March 1 (Reuters) - Volkswagen’s premium brand Audi forecast on Thursday operating profit in 2012 should remain at last year’s record level of 5.35 billion euros ($7.16 billion) and expects to reach its mid-term sales target earlier than planned.

Audi’s operating margin widened by nearly three full percentage points to 12.1 percent last year, far above the 9.0 percent achieved by rival Mercedes-Benz.

The Ingolstadt-based carmaker, whose net cash rose to over 15.7 billion euros at the end of last year, said it wants to meet its 2015 target of selling 1.5 million vehicles in 2014 at the latest already.

$1 = 0.7476 euros Reporting by Irene Preisinger, writing by Christiaan Hetzner

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