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Audi plans C7.3 billion (US$10.5 billion) in investments through 2012

FRANKFURT, Germany - Audi AG said Monday it plans to spend C7.3 billion (US$10.51 billion) on plant upgrades, new products and technology research as it moves to expand its number of customers worldwide and increase market share.

FRANKFURT, Germany - Audi AG said Monday it plans to spend C7.3 billion (US$10.51 billion) on plant upgrades, new products and technology research as it moves to expand its number of customers worldwide and increase market share.

Audi, based in Ingolstadt, and a unit of Volkswagen AG, said it plans to spend that amount from 2009 to 2012 and will increase the number of models from its current 34 to a planned 42 by 2015.

Of the investment, about C5.9 billion will go toward new products and future technologies, or about 80 per cent of its planned spending.

"With our planned investments in new products and mobility concepts - for example, electric propulsion - we are creating a basis for our company's future growth," said Axel Strotbek, who oversees finance and organization at the company.

Investors agreed, pushing Audi shares up nearly 4.2 per cent to C500 in Frankfurt trading.

The company also wants to expand its model line, adding the A1, A7, A8 and R8 Spyder to its production portfolio in 2010, along with the Q5 Hybrid, slated to reach the market in the beginning of 2011.

"We will be in a position to finance all our planned investments from our operative cash flow," Strotbek said.

The carmaker plans to spend heavily at its German plants, disbursing C3.8 billion to its Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm plants from this year through 2012.

"This is a firm commitment to our German facilities. Audi is facing the technological upheaval in the automobile world in a farsighted way," said Peter Mosch, chairman of Audi's general works council.

Some C2.5 billion will be invested at Ingolstadt, including on a new transmission and emission centre, along with production of the A1. Another C1.3 billion will be spent at Neckarsulm for production of the A6, A7 and A8 models.

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On the Net:

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