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Audi aims for number one

On the up: Sales of the A3 range have increased this year with the addition of the sedan and cabriolet versions joining the five-door Sportback.

“Massive investment” new models, sustained growth to put four-rings in P1 says Audi

Audi logo12 Nov 2014

By DANIEL GARDNER

AUDI says that with a strong range, a barrage of new products on the way and plans for “massive investment” it will knock its prestige rivals aside, becoming number one in Australia within the next few years.

Of the three big European players in Australia, Audi ranks third behind second place BMW and Mercedes-Benz at the front, but with gathering sales momentum and ambitious growth strategies, the company says it is on the way to the top.

With a 1.7 per cent year to date share of the market Audi is closing in on BMW with a 2.0 per cent share but still has a way to go to catch Mercedes which sits comfortably out in front with a 2.8 per cent slice of the action, albeit with commercial vehicle sales included.

But with strong growth in the past two years Audi has clawed back from a monthly low of less than 1.0 per cent in March 2012, up 20 per cent over last year's figure, and it says it can maintain the growth.

Speaking at a recent A3 e-tron demonstration, Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle told GoAuto that the company's steep upward trajectory and strong sales would follow a global trend, taking the four rings past the competition in Australia too.

“We are number one throughout the whole of Western Europe, number one in China, number one in UK,” he said. “We will be number one in this market soon.”“Of course, we have certain shorter, mid- and long-term goals, where we will be number one – I strongly believe that – but I don’t think it’s critical I say that its 2016, or 17 or whatever. And of course, to become number one from number three you first got to get number two.

“Look at that trajectory over the last 10 years. We will continue that trajectory. We have got great models coming. I was at a recent management conference and I saw some amazing new product coming.”

While Mr Doyle didn't offer a prediction of when the brand would overtake the leader, he did explain that sustainable growth was a gradual process requiring a number of key elements.

Over the next few years the current Audi range of 45 models will expand to 60, offering more choice to both new and conquest customers, while significant investments in company infrastructure will provide the platform to support a ballooning lineup.

Part of the investment includes building a new dealership in the heart of Melbourne, which is due for official opening this month.

“The future looks very bright but it is important we have sustainable growth.

If you look at Audi Centre Melbourne. That is a massive investment.

“It really makes me very proud that we have partners like that that are prepared to invest in us. That is a $25 million investment. It’s benchmarked in the worl.”

Despite the optimistic long-term outlook, Mr Doyle said outright sales and leading the Australian prestige segment was not the company's only goal or mark of success.

“Its not just about growth. It’s always about sustainable growth. A lot of people have asked me over the last couple of months, 'are you going to catch them what are you going to do?'” he said.

“We are an ambitious brand, a competitive brand in a competitive market place but that’s not our sole ambition.”

An aggressive marketing campaign has also lifted the Audi brand in recent months, with a push to promote its quattro heritage and technology, RS high-performance models and a unique interactive TV advertising project.

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