Automotive news recently published an article about Audi dealerships in the UK. It starts off with the fact that a couple from Chicago travelled all the way to Britain to buy an A4. They did this because they heard about the stores there. Some of their dealerships have “powerwalls” which are screens that cover almost all of a wall. These screens are displayed by HD LED lights. All of the tables in the dealerships are touch screen so that customers can design their car on it then the picture is displayed on the powerwalls…. it seems like they are selling technology rather than their cars, especially since the couple went home car-less because the dealership was out of stock of the A4… So customers can do all sorts of cool things on computers and see awesome cars, but when the demand is right in front of the dealerships face they don’t have the supply.
Employees in the dealerships wield iPads while they usher potential customers to “lodges” which are high tech isolated rooms where they can be briefed on products through displays on the walls. This is an embodiment of Audi’s “Head of Global Networking Strategy”’s three visions of the company, “one is sophistication, the second one is progressive, and sporty is a third,”
Supposedly Audi doesn’t mean for this to be a dealership but more of an information center. They said they don’t can if a kid comes in and designs his dream car, because one day he will come back and his ability to have that dream car will be a reality. Having only four cars on display, they attempt to give a teaser as to what the company is about. They have three RS models which are their higher end cars and one R8 which is a supercar.
This sales strategy seems to be working. Automotive News claims that since opening the tech center, Audi sales have gone up 60%… So the question is, in this day and age are people buying a car or buying the newest technology? Audi seems to think they can incorporate both and market it against companies like BMW which is producing cars like the i8 and i3. I believe that Audi will not be able to compete with this new wave of BMW technology unless they spend less money on selling cars and more money on their cars. That being said, if I was buying a car I would prefer the Apple Store vibe over a traditional dealership…