Dispute With Dealers

Trouble in Audi's Chinese Paradise

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The dispute with dealers could affect Audi’s sales in the important Chinese market.

  • Facts


    • Audi’s unit sales in China slumped 35 percent in January year-on-year while sales of rival premium automakers Daimler and BMW rose sharply.
    • The dealers claim they lost 28 billion yuan ($4.08 billion) from 2014 to 2016 because sales fell short of expectations.
    • Audi disagrees. The outcome of the dispute is unclear. BMW had to pay dealers almost €700 million after a similar dispute two years ago.
  • Audio


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teaser 32313532 source Stephan Scheuer DPA – Audi Chinese dealership interested buyer auto China car
Audi didn't sell as many cars in China as it hoped. Picture Source: Stephan Scheuer / DPA

Sanya, on the southern island of Hainan, is a tropical holiday paradise, but the auto dealers meeting there this week weren’t in a mood for partying. In fact, they’re downright angry at German premium automaker Audi and blaming it for lackluster sales.

The dealers claim they lost 28 billion yuan ($4.08 billion) from 2014 to 2016 as Audi’s sales failed to live up to expectations. They set up an Audi dealers association in Sanya on Thursday to press their case.

But Audi doesn’t see why it should pay. “The business of China’s Audi dealerships was profitable in each of the past three years,” an Audi spokeswoman in Beijing told Handelsblatt. An internationally independent auditing company had confirmed that and the accusations were currently being addressed with the dealers, she added.

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