The automotive world is changing at a fast pace – and with it, the expectation and needs that people place on the purchase of their premium car. Today, nine out of ten customers looking for a new car gather information up-front from the internet. Many of them want to find out important information for themselves; often making use of evaluations from social networks with the swarm intelligence of millions of users.
With most of the initial information being gathered in advance of the visit to the dealership, the expectations placed on the consultation with dealership experts are now all the higher - when it comes to comparing, weighing up and selecting the individual best from a continuously growing product offering. Also when considering tailor-made financial services, add-on services such as maintenance packages or the trade-in of a used car, the dialogue with the dealer is essential.
For many people, the spontaneous, convenient and uncomplicated contact to the brand is becoming increasingly important, be it on digital platforms or in real life –on a lunch break, a weekend shopping trip or from the living room at home. Audi has set itself the task of bringing together the benefits of the real and the digital world, to fully integrate them and thus create a perfect brand experience for the customer in a seamless fusion of the two worlds.
Audi City is one of the company’s responses to this development. The concept complements the brand’s dealer network with an innovative format that is state-of-the-art. It brings car sales directly into the everyday life of the customer and represents an expansion of the retail services on offer.
Developed specifically for top locations at the center of international metropolises, Audi City is for those places where trends are born, where social diversity is lived and breathed and leading brands from other sectors such as fashion, design or electronics are located. Here, in the best retail locations, Audi City presents itself as a kind of real-life cyberstore that connects physical space with the virtual world.
Center-stage is the digital and almost true-to-life display of Audi models on floor-to-ceiling projection surfaces – the powerwalls. They are controlled by visitors using multi-touch tables, enabling dealerships to display for the very first time the complete Audi portfolio. In the course of its model offensive, the brand has expanded the product lineup substantially over the last few years – from 23 basic models in 2007 to 49 by the end of 2013.
Thanks to state-of-the-art media technology, Audi City offers several hundred million possible configurations all the way across the entire model lineup, complete with all colors, equipment options and functions. This way, the concept also takes into account the rapidly growing demand for individualization and personalization. More and more customers want to drive their own highly personal, individualized Audi, and they want to see it in as much detail as possible right there in the dealership.
For that, customers have the assistance of the Audi expert. These staff members function as central contacts for all services – whether it concerns the specific purchase of a new car or requests regarding After Sales and Service. For more detailed discussion on individual dream cars, there are Customer Private Lounges available in a separate area of the Audi City – these are comfortable consultation suites in the style of an exclusive studio.
The Audi expert continues to provide assistance to his/her customers even after the sales conversation – organizing, for instance, drop-off and pick-up services for test drives or service appointments. To this end, every Audi City location is connected to a nearby Audi dealership. It serves as a center of expertise and provides the likes of test drives and servicing.
With Audi City, the brand is successfully developing premium car sales to the next level and is conquering new customers for the four rings. The feedback from the two existing locations – in London close to Piccadilly Circus and in Beijing on the prominent Chang An Avenue – is evidence of its success. In Beijing, an average of around 8,000 people visit Audi City every week. In London, a classic Audi Forum previously existed at the same location; since the opening of the Audi City, car sales there have risen by 70 percent, with 60 percent of all buyers being new to the brand.