• For 55 years, AMAG/Audi and Swiss-Ski have been linked by common values such as power, efficiency, performance, sustainability and Vorsprung durch Technik
  • For 55 years, AMAG/Audi and Swiss-Ski have been linked by common values such as power, efficiency, performance, sustainability and Vorsprung durch Technik
  • Partnership extension announced for the next four years
55 years AMAG / Audi x Swiss Ski

AMAG has supported the Swiss-Ski Association as an automotive partner for 55 years. Audi has been a guarantee of safe transportation for the athletes since the introduction of the Audi quattro. To celebrate the anniversary, AMAG and Audi Switzerland, together with Swiss-Ski, invited guests to the Audi e-tron energy bar in Grindelwald, where former Federal Councillor Adolf Ogi, together with Helmut Ruhl, CEO AMAG Group, Dieter Jermann, Brand Director Audi Switzerland and Urs Lehmann, President Swiss-Ski, discussed the origins, present and future of this successful partnership. In addition, Moni Islam, Head of Aerodynamics/Aeroacoustics Development at AUDI AG, and skiing legend Didier Cuche gave exciting insights into their electrifying everyday lives.

AMAG/Audi and snow sports – two things that simply belong together, and have done so for 55 years already, which is equivalent to a platinum wedding anniversary. And platinum is not only the world's most durable and robust precious metal, it is also thirty times rarer than gold and thus far more valuable. It's hard to say whether this long-standing partnership is worth its weight in gold, but the figures are impressive. By way of example, since the partnership began in 1968, Swiss ski athletes have taken part in a total of 15 Olympic Games, winning 108 medals across all sports, not to mention a haul of 229 World Ski Championships medals. In the Alpine Ski World Cup, the pro skiers have achieved a total of 1,782 podium places, including 645 victories and ten gold medals in the Nations Cup.

Longest sponsorship partnership in Swiss sport

While the athletes' figures are impressive to say the least, so are those of AMAG and Audi Switzerland. With almost 9,250 vehicles, they have been getting the top athletes safely to their destinations since 1968 – in all weathers and under the most adverse conditions. The foundation stone for the sponsorship commitment was laid in 1968 by Adolf Ogi – the then Director of Swiss-Ski. “I noticed that the athletes were never actually arriving at the races and training sessions feeling relaxed.

Not least because they first had to lug six pairs of skis from the station to the hotel and then to the valley station. That's why I asked AMAG if they would provide VW buses to transport the ski team. This simple idea was the start of what is probably the longest sponsorship partnership in Swiss sport. And I would even go so far as to say that it was AMAG cars that drove the national skiing team to success”, the former Federal Councillor declared toTV presenter Rainer Maria Salzgeber at the anniversary celebration marking the 55-year partnership, which was held at the Audi e-tron energy bar in Grindelwald in mid-October.

All-wheel drive for ‘Quattro Nation’ Switzerland

It was the launch of the quattro drive system in particular that led to the brand with the four rings becoming the ideal mobility partner for Swiss-Ski from 1980 onwards. That's because the Audi all-wheel-drive system guarantees safe progress even in the harshest winter road conditions – making it perfect for snow sports enthusiasts. “Audi's quattro all-wheel drive was made for the winter sports athletes, offering perfect grip and reliable drive”, says Adolf Ogi, who is incidentally an enthusiastic Audi driver himself. “Once quattro, always quattro”, says Ogi.

Once Audi, always Audi – that undoubtedly also applies to the partnership with Swiss-Ski. AMAG/Audi is by far Swiss-Ski's most loyal partner. We are particularly proud to have a long-standing and reliable partner in AMAG/Audi. In this day and age, that is by no means a matter of course. Audi is a successful, innovative brand with a positive and sporty aura – making it a perfect fit for Swiss-Ski”, says Urs Lehmann, President of Swiss-Ski.

Common values and goals – now and in the future

But it is not only success that has linked AMAG/Audi and Swiss-Ski for 55 years. Together they stand for power, efficiency and performance, but also for sustainability and Vorsprung durch Technik. Both live progress to achieve what no one has ever done before. “The important thing, as in any partnership, is to keep developing and to keep setting new goals. And to approach these goals proactively and keep moving them forward each time. We did this successfully in the last contract period. We tested new formats, worked with emotional videos, and the digital marketing on social media struck like lightning”, says Dieter Jermann, Brand Director Audi Switzerland.

A development that will continue, as Dieter Jermann announced at the anniversary celebration in Grindelwald: “We have decided to extend the partnership for another four years – up to and including the 2026/2027 season. We are very much looking forward to four more years of sponsorship and hopefully some gold medals. For Audi AG and us, Audi Switzerland, the future focus will be the Alpine Ski World Cup. This strategy fits in perfectly with our brand philosophy – our three P's: Performance, Progressive, Premium.”

Parallels from two worlds

However, good performance is not only important for top athletes; it also plays an important role for the Ingolstadt-based brand, especially in the all-electric Audi e-tron models. Dr Moni Islam is Head of Aerodynamics/Aeroacoustics Development at AUDI AG. His workplace is the wind tunnel, where he focuses on the cd value – the drag coefficient. The cd value is an important parameter for the efficiency and range of electric cars. The Audi e-tron GT quattro, for example, impresses with a cd value of 0.24, making it the front-runner in the brand's portfolio.

But it is not only vehicles that are optimised in the wind tunnel; Swiss ski athletes also fine-tune their performance at this facility in Ingolstadt. “The Swiss skiing stars often come to our wind tunnel to optimise their aerodynamics. This is always a special highlight for us”, says Dr Islam. But it's not just optimisation at the limit that unites the aerodynamicists at AUDI AG and Swiss-Ski. Dr Islam: “There are many parallels between us and Swiss-Ski. In addition to the attention to detail, we are also united by team spirit and the drive to perform at the highest level.”

This is what the future feels like

The electrification of the Swiss-Ski fleet already began a few years ago. “We very much appreciate Swiss-Ski joining us on our systematic drive towards sustainable, electric, premium mobility. We have been electrifying athletes with our plug-in and fully electric Audi e-tron models since the 2020 season. We already offer electric vehicles that have a range of up to almost 600 km. I am therefore very confident that, together with the athletes, we will electrify the Swiss-Ski vehicle fleet sustainably in the years to come,” says Dieter Jermann.

This Sustainable mindset for a successful future

Former ski racer and Audi Ambassador Didier Cuche has been driving purely electrically for many years. He was one of the first Audi e-tron drivers. A likeable man who hails from the Jura, he gave away some of his electric secrets at the anniversary celebration. “When I switched to the all-electric Audi e-tron in 2019, the timing was perfect", says Cuche. At that time, he had just completely renovated his parents’ farmhouse and converted it into an energy-saving house, including a photovoltaic system on the roof. With this home-produced solar power, Cuche can charge his new Audi Q8 e-tron via a wallbox in the garage at any time, for example. “It's a fantastic feeling to be so clean and self-sufficient on the road. This is what the future feels like”, says Cuche.

Didier Cuche’s example also pleases Helmut Ruhl, CEO of the AMAG Group: “I wish that every free roof in Switzerland had a photovoltaic system installed.” That’s why AMAG is also pushing for the expansion of renewable energies, on the one hand through its subsidiary Helion and other partners, and on the other hand through the construction of PV systems on the roofs of all AMAG buildings.

“The direction of travel is clear – with the rise in electromobility, AMAG not only wants to increasingly meet the additional electricity demand itself with partners, it also aims to position itself as the market leader for sustainable energy and mobility solutions”, says Ruhl.