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Audi ascending

Fri, 07 Jan 2011

Ford has owned the International Consumer Electronics show the last few years, but now a host of other automakers are making their presence felt at the techno party.

Case in point: Audi AG CEO Rupert Stadler's appearance as a keynote speaker Thursday morning at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Actor James Cromwell, from I, Robot movie fame, introduced Stadler, who rolled onto stage in an e-tron Spyder concept car.

Stadler talked about driveless cars, experimental technology and Audi's push to put more safety technology into cars.

Stadler's timing couldn't be better.

In America, the brand finished 2010 with 101,629 sales. Its best year ever.

Audi North America boss Johan de Nysschen told me at an Audi party Wednesday night that the brand's biggest challenge is allocation.

Simply, Audi dealers are selling everything they can get their hands on.

"In some cases with some models we have a 14-day supply," he said.

Audi's strength is coming in some unusual places, including here in Las Vegas.

Where it goes from here, particularly with its technology and electric vehicles, will be interesting to watch.

By Jason Stein- Automotive News