Audi’s small town growth saga

By: | Published: September 4, 2017 11:18 PM

As Audi celebrates its 10 year anniversary in India, it has increasingly been turning its attention towards non-metros.

Audi.audi cars, customers, Audi organisersTo engage with customers in tier II and III cities, Audi organises drive events giving those cities a chance to experience the brand up close.

Audi is CLEAR on its aims in India. It wants to reclaim the top spot it occupied not too long ago in the luxury car segment. The focus now for the German auto brand is to grow its user base across the country. With 94 touchpoints already, which includes showroom, workshop and used-car facility, and an aim to cross the 100 touchpoints-mark this year, Audi has been focussing on ‘Bharat’ for a while now while it continues to serve India.

Audi cars are finding favour in the growing, new segment of customers who are upgrading from premium sedans to compact and executive luxury sedans and SUVs. These are young achievers, in the age bracket of 28-32 years with disposable incomes. This is true for tier II and III cities, in addition to tier I markets. Audi has dealerships in cities like Udaipur, Guwahati and Ranchi. In some tier II and III cities, it is planning a Workshop First concept to service existing customers residing in cities or regions where an its dealership is currently missing.

To engage with customers in tier II and III cities, Audi organises drive events giving those cities a chance to experience the brand up close. It is looking at a three-pronged strategy to claw back to the top spot in the market. The first step is concentrating on its products. It is planning to launch more than 10 products in India this year, having already launched the Audi A4 TDI, Audi A3 Cabriolet, Audi Q3 TFSI, Audi Q3 TDI, Audi A3 sedan, Audi Q7 Design Edition and Audi A6 Design Edition. Making the brand accessible is the next step. One such initiative is to enter tier II and III cities with its Workshop First approach.

For cities where the brand does not have dealerships, it will reach out to customers through Audi Mobile Terminal (AMT). This year, AMT — a showroom-on-wheels — will travel to 40 smaller cities. It has already travelled to 50 cities in the last three years. The third step is about making the brand approachable through its Customer Connect initiatives. “Engagement for us goes beyond the routine test drives; therefore, we have programmes such as the Audi Sportscar Experience, Audi Q Drive and the Audi Weekender,” says Rahil Ansari, head, Audi India. “They enable our customers and prospects to experience the Vorsprung Durch Technik offered in our product portfolio while learning how to handle our cars on the road through techniques taught by a team of instructors.” In addition to this, Audi has introduced two showrooms based on the Bistro concept in India — Audi Delhi Central and Audi Bengaluru. Both these centres take customer engagement and experience in the pre-sale phase to a new level. While the lounge set-up at Bistro provides customers with a plush and relaxed environment, the display and information kiosk helps them to discuss and choose the most suitable Audi.

The company follows a Terminal Concept Design for its showrooms which entails having showrooms assorted with the honeycomb aluminum facade on the exterior. The terminal concept for the showroom is inspired from Audi AG in Germany and the first such showroom in India debuted in Kochi in 2009. For the Audi A3 Sedan launch which happened in 2014, patrons could experience Audi Oculus Rifts across its 11 showrooms. Ansari says, “In India, this technology is ahead of the world. And that is being integrated into showrooms across the entire network.”

In Gurgaon, Audi has its largest workshop that runs 24×7. High-value customers can drop their cars in the evening for servicing, and by the time they are ready for office the next day, their car is ready as well. Audi is now looking at providing similar services in other cities, such as Mumbai.

Ansari declares that 2017 is the year of Audi Reloaded and the brand will come back much stronger in the years to come. “We are not only looking at volumes but our main focus is to fulfil customers’ requirements and create delightful moments for them,” he concludes.

Shinmin.Bali@expressindia.com
@shinminbali

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