German carmaker Audi will launch 10 new SUV models for the Chinese market in the coming five years, seven of which will also be produced locally, Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler said Thursday at an annual press conference.
Stadler said four of the ten new models will be fully electric. "In the next five years, we will more than double our portfolio from local production together with our Chinese partner FAW," he said.
"Together we will significantly expand our product range above all in the area of electrified drive systems and sporty SUVs," Stadler added.
Stadler also noted that the year 2018 is a special anniversary year for Audi in China because the company started 30 years ago as the first premium manufacturer the local production in Audi's largest single market so far.
In 2017, the carmaker, based in the southern German city of Ingolstadt, saw a record sale of 1,878,105 units globally, up by 0.6 percent from 2016.
Among them, about one third was delivered to Chinese customers, representing a year-on-year increase of 1.1 percent.
Last year, Audi's revenues surpassed 60 billion euros (74 billion U.S. dollars) for the first time in the company's history. Its operating profit amounted to 4.7 billion euros.
For 2018, Audi plans to bring 20 new and upgraded models to the market. Among the new models are the first all-electric SUV -- the Audi e-tron -- which is expected to roll off the production belt in Brussels from the end of the year, according to German news agency DPA.
Stadler said Audi was having its most aggressive launch of new models in its history and had changed the spread of production over its factories.
Research and development costs should increase to over 6.5 percent of turnover this year, he said. Profit margin should remain stable at 8 percent.