LAS VEGAS – Audi of America Inc. has high expectations for its certified pre-owned vehicle program.

The auto maker says it expects to sell approximately 28,000 CPO vehicles this year, or one-third of its total new-cars sales volume.

That goal marks a 36.2% increase over the total 20,558-unit CPO sales in 2003. Audi says it sold 2,149 CPO units in March, a 21.1% increase over like-2003 and an all-time monthly record since the company began tracking CPO sales in 1991.

Audi says dealers are reaping the financial benefits of the CPO program, with profits running on par with new vehicles.

“The average gross profit on CPO cars is at least as high as it is for new cars,” Axel Mees, vice president-Audi of America, tells Ward’s in an interview during a media preview event for the new S4 Cabriolet here.

“We are starting to get our CPO business on line,” says Mees. “We started a year ago to really get that up and running and we are on target with our sales objectives, and our dealers are (now) profiting (from the program).”