Audi has increased sales of its brands in the US and has been forced to bring in an additional 5,000 vehicles from other global markets for the second half of 2010. The increase, which could see Audi hit a record 100,000 vehicle sales this year, has necessitated the movement of vehicles from Europe.
The company is also facing shortages in the availability of trucks to carry the vehicles from its ports and railheads given the impact of the recession on trucking companies.
Audi obtained 48,000 units from Germany in the first half of the year but is short in almost all of its brand lines in the US. At the beginning of July the German-based carmaker had just a 21-day supply of vehicles.
In 2009 the Volkswagen-owned carmaker sold 82,716 vehicles in the US but sales through June were up 28% to 48,440 vehicles.
The company expects the A8, A6 and forthcoming A7 five-door sedan to account for 30% of sales there within six or seven years, up from the current 15%.
An Audi spokesman told Automotive Logistics News that the company began 2010 under supplied, particularly in models such as the Audi Q5 and Audi Q7 TDI. "That effectively meant we had to play catch up to get to an ideally-stocked level of 50-55 days supply for faster moving volume models and around 45 days for more niche cars," he said.
The company said that despite optimistic planning it didn’t expect the trend in sales figures to be as strong as it has transpired to be. For the overall year of 2010, Audi is forecasting double-digit growth.
However, a recent report in German paper Der Spiegel highlighted that the possibility of raised US tariffs on the import of German cars is causing concern amongst manufacturers that were beginning to feel the benefits of market recovery. 
Der Spiegel reported on speculation that the German government’s refusal to provide support for GM subsidiary Opel as the real reason behind the decision.
The possible establishment of higher tariffs for the import of Audi vehicles to the US could be a significant drawback for the company as the sector emerges from the economic crisis, especially as Audi vehicles are not currently manufactured in the US.
At the same time, the current EU trade policy means that Europe charges a 10% tariff on cars imported from the US while those heading into the US from Europe, are only taxed with a 2.5% levy.