The automotive world is changing fast ? as are the expectations and needs that people have when they purchase a premium vehicle. Nine out of ten customers looking for a new car now go online in search of information. They consciously want to seek im-portant data, often in the form of evaluations from social networks with the swarm intelligence of millions of users.
Nowadays, initial information is usually gathered prior to the first visit to the dealer. This leads to raised expectations for the discussion with experts at the dealership when it comes to selecting the car that best suits their wants and needs. Many customers also no longer think of themselves simply as buyers, but increasingly as partners of ?their? favoured brand. They want actively to incorporate themselves and their wishes into the development of new products; they wish to be heard and be involved. This is where the relationship between customer and brand begins well before the actual purchase of a car. It is becoming more intense and more ongoing. It thrives on spontaneous, uncomplicated contact ? on digital platforms, and in real life: during a lunch break, on the way home, during a weekend shopping trip.
With Audi City, the brand is meeting its customers in their own environments, in the centres of major international cities. This is where trends are created, where social diversity lives and leading brands from other sectors ? such as fashion, design or electronics ? are represented.
This is where Audi will now present itself: in the best retail areas with a real-life cyberstore that combines the physical world with the virtual one. At its centre ? the digital and yet real-life display of cars with the four rings on floor-to-ceiling projection surfaces, so-called powerwalls. For the first time, a dealership is able to display the entire Audi portfolio, which has grown considerably over recent years. Where the Ingolstadt company still had 23 models in its line-up in 2007, it had 40 by end of 2012. Thanks to state-of-the-art media technology, Audi City offers several hundred million possible configurations spanning the entire model range ? including all colours, equipment options and functions. The store concept also takes into account the strong increase in demand worldwide for individualisation and personalisation. An increasing number of customers want to drive their own personal, individualised Audi and to experience it in as much detail as possible right at the dealership. Thus, in the medium term, Audi will incorporate the entire range of individualisation possibilities from the Audi exclusive programme into the virtual world of Audi City.
But Audi City is more than a new dealership location. These retail outlets will also appeal to people for whom the purchase of a premium car is still a pipe dream. The idea behind Audi City is the creation of a meeting place for fans of the brand; an inviting environment that inspires curiosity without any sales pressure. Audi City will also be used as a communication forum for issues outside of Audi?s core business. In the same place where customers gather information on their new Audi by day, the evening visitor will experience a wide-ranging programme of readings, round-table discussions and exhibitions ? on matters of urban development and mobility, to issues of art, culture and design. Audi City offers a space for people to engage in dialogue with the brand and allows Audi to connect with the life of the city.