At the Annual General Meeting held recently in Neckarsulm, Audi talked about the “unsatisfactory performance in 2018” and how it plans to bounce back this year. As a refresher, deliveries last year went down by 3.5 percent compared to the year before, with one of the main causes for the decrease being the switch from NEDC to WLTP that hampered product availability.

How does Audi plan to get back into shape? By introducing a lot of models. The fully electric E-Tron Sportback and the China-only Q2 L E-Tron have been reconfirmed for a 2019 release, but we’re more interested in learning about the performance cars due to be launched by Audi Sport this year. A total of nine S and an additional four R and RS models are scheduled for a 2019 release.

Gallery: Audi SQ8 Uncovered Spy Photos

Let’s begin with the letter “S” and start from top to bottom to try and identify the models planned for this year. Chances are the S8 will be out in the months to come and could be joined by SQ8 as well as by the S7 Sportback and the S6 in both Sedan and Avant flavours. We won’t be too surprised if the SQ3 will also see the light of day sometime this year. All of these models have been spotted undergoing testing and carrying little to no camouflage, which is usually a sign a reveal is not that far away.

As far as the RS models, a slideshow presented by Audi Spain depicting the product roadmap for this year revealed the Four Rings will launch the RS7 Sportback in the third trimester, with the RS Q3 and the RS6 earmarked for a late 2019 release.

Let’s keep in mind that Audi has hinted at the return of the rear-wheel drive R8, but it’s too early to know whether it will happen this year or later in the supercar’s second half of its life cycle.

Audi doesn’t specify whether the total number of S- and RS-badged launches scheduled for 2019 includes the ones that have already been revealed but won’t be going on sale until later this year. We’re primarily talking about the RS5 Sportback, R8 facelift, TT RS facelift, and the recently unveiled SQ5 TDI.

Gallery: Audi RS7 Spy Shots

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After significant adverse factors in 2018 financial year: Audi accelerates its realignment

  • Operating profit before special items falls to €4.7 billion; Operating return on sales before special items of 7.9 percent
  • Financial base confirmed: €2.1 billion net cash flow; €20.4 billion net liquidity
  • Board of Management to reveal new strategy at 2019 Annual General Meeting
  • CEO Bram Schot: “Making Audi efficient, agile and stress resistant again”
  • CFO Alexander Seitz: “Increasing the target for the Audi Transformation Plan to about €15 billion, to generate the cash flow to finance electric mobility”
  • New long-term target corridor for operating return on sales of 9 to 11 percent after deconsolidation of multi-brand import companies
  • Transition year 2019 with electrification initiative and multiple challenges 

Audi restart: Against the background of the transformation of the automotive industry, the Four Rings want to make use of available potential with a new, focused strategy. Audi is thus also drawing conclusions from its unsatisfactory performance in 2018. Impacted primarily by the changeover to WLTP, operating profit before special items amounted to €4.7 billion. The corresponding return on sales was 7.9 percent and thus not within the target corridor. With the inclusion of negative special items of €1.2 billion from the diesel crisis, operating profit amounted to €3.5 billion, equivalent to a return on sales of 6.0 percent. With the successful Audi Transformation Plan, the premium manufacturer was able to offset some of the high financial burdens. In the context of deconsolidating multi-brand import companies at the beginning of 2019, the company increased its long-term strategic target corridor for operating return on sales to nine to eleven percent. The current financial year will be dominated by Audi’s electrification initiative. Due to numerous challenges, 2019 is expected to be a transition year for the company with an operating return on sales forecasted at between 7.0 and 8.5 percent, which is still below the new long-term target corridor. Deliveries of the brand with the Four Rings are expected to increase moderately. The company anticipates financial burdens above all from managing the WLTP transition, high ramp-up costs, enormous advance expenditure for electric mobility and the increasingly difficult macroeconomic environment.