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While the German luxury brand Audi has become more prestigious in recent years, it's still been seen as lagging behind BMW and Mercedes-Benz both in sales and reputation. However, Audi and its owner, Volkswagen AG, are planning a massive expansion that Automotive News refers to as "unprecedented."Audi has always been a distinctly German brand, but over the next five years the company plans to become a worldwide presence as it seeks new markets. In 2009, 75 percent of the automaker's cars were produced at two factories in Germany, at Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm. By 2017, those factories will handle less than half of the company's total production. Audi is planning new plants in China, Mexico and Hungary.The company's stated goals are in tune with its ambitious plans for production upgrades. By 2020, the company hopes to sell 2 million vehicles worldwide annually, which would be a 54 percent increase from this year's numbers.Audi's expansion is part of Volkswagen's overall goals. Volkswagen has stated it hopes to overtake General Motors as the world's largest automaker. Currently, Audi provides just 15 percent of Volkswagen's vehicles. However, these luxury cars have a higher profit margin than normal vehicles, which explains why Audi was responsible for 44 percent of Volkswagen's profits.Those who have an Audi or any other vehicle should be sure to keep up with their scheduled maintenance to ensure their car is in top condition.
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