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FRANKFURT - German luxury car maker Audi AG (NSU.XE) said Monday it will launch its new small A1 model at the end of August, reiterated its target of selling more than one million vehicles in 2010 and said it was set to post higher revenues and operating profits this year.

The premium brand of Volkswagen AG (VOW.XE), Europe's largest automaker by sales, had last week reported an operating profit of EUR478 million and revenues of EUR8.26 billion for the first quarter, making it the group's biggest earnings contributor.

"The first-quarter result is a sound foundation for us to attain our goal of surpassing our 2009 revenue and operating profit levels," Audi Chief Financial Officer Axel Strotbek said in a statement Monday.

On March 9, Strotbek said Audi's revenue and operating profit are anticipated to come in "significantly higher." A spokesman for Audi noted, however, that the company's full-year outlook remained unchanged.

Ingolstadt-based, Audi sold 264,100 cars in the first three months of this year, up 23% compared with the same period in 2009.

Audi is the world's third-largest premium automaker by sales after BMW AG (BMW.XE) and Daimler AG's (DAI) Mercedes-Benz brand, but is the market leader in the important Chinese market thanks to an early market entry by parent Volkswagen.

As well as Audi, VW produces own-brand cars and Skoda, Seat, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini vehicles. It also owns Swedish truck producer Scania AB (SCV-A.SK).

source: tradesignalonline

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