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Audi expects to sell more than 1.7 mln cars in 2014 - CEO

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[September 03, 2014]  MARBELLA Spain (Reuters) - Premium car maker Audi expects to sell more than 1.7 million cars in 2014 even as sales momentum in some emerging markets slows, Chief Executive Rupert Stadler said.

Audi, owned by Volkswagen, delivered 1.01 million cars in the first seven months of the year, ahead of Mercedes-Benz, which sold 913,500, but behind rival BMW with 1.02 million deliveries.

"The driver of sales were the established economies, not emerging markets, with the exception of China," Stadler said at the launch of the TT coupe, in remarks embargoed until Wednesday.

One market in which Audi has seen a weakening is Russia, where a geopolitical crisis has rattled markets.

"For the past eight months we have had de facto no growth," Stadler said in reference to Russia, adding that Audi raised prices there by between 5 and 6 percent to compensate for the rouble's weakness against the euro.

Overall, Audi had very good sales in August, with the strong sales in the United States helping to offset weakness elsewhere, Stadler said.

He added that he expected business in Brazil and India to rebound eventually, though a recovery in those countries may take longer than expected.

The Audi executive reiterated the company's goal of selling 2 million vehicles a year by 2020.

Sales are expected to receive a boost when Audi launches a next generation of its TT Coupe, followed by a convertible version, Stadler said.

Audi will also start renewing its larger cars, the A5, A6, A7 and A8 limousines when it launches a new modular assembly kit, known as MLB, next year, Stadler said.

(Reporting by Irene Preisinger; Writing by Edward Taylor; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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