May 8, 2018 / 5:18 PM / 6 months ago

Audi eyes 800,000 electric and hybrid car sales in 2025

BERLIN (Reuters) - German premium brand Audi on Tuesday said it plans to sell about 800,000 battery-electric and hybrid powered cars in 2025, as it seeks to catch up with electric car rival Tesla and emerge from a damaging emissions-cheating scandal.

The logo of the German car manufacturer Audi is pictured at the training center during a media tour in San Jose Chilapa, Mexico April 19, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Audi’s image has been tarnished by regulatory probes investigating what role its engineers may have played in designing engine management software to cheat modern emissions tests.

Audi will launch more than 20 electrified vehicles by 2025 thanks to an ability for using parent Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) new MEB modular platform and vehicle underpinnings jointly developed with premium sibling Porsche, it said.

That’s slightly more ambitious than the 20 electrified vehicles Audi had previously guided for. Audi said it would launch the cars without undermining its 8-10 percent operating margin target.

Audi declined to provide details about how many fully battery electric, and how many hybrid cars it will sell by 2025. Last year, it sold about 16,000 semi-electric vehicles and it still lacks a fully electric model in its lineup.

The Ingolstadt, Germany-based brand, which delivered 1.88 million cars globally in 2017 currently offers three plug-in hybrid vehicles.

In August, Audi will launch the e-tron sport utility vehicle, its first serial all-electric model.

Demand for large sports utility vehicles has helped make Audi Volkswagen’s main profit driver.

On Tuesday Germany’s Transport Ministry said the KBA vehicle authority was investigating a further 60,000 diesel-engined Audi cars for suspected illegal manipulation software which may have helped the carmaker cheat emissions tests.

To fund its electric-vehicle offensive through to the middle of the next decade, Audi has extended by three years until 2025, an investment program worth about 40 billion euros ($47.42 billion), it said.

To free up funds for its electric-car push Audi is ceasing production of some models, including two-door versions of its A1 and A3 vehicle lines, as well as cutting component and administration costs. It now aims to save at least 10 billion euros by 2022.

($1 = 0.8435 euros)

Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Edward Taylor

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