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Audi Australia simplifies options lists

Customer feedback prompts Audi Australia to create readily available option packages

12 Nov 2018

AUDI Australia says it is working to reduce the complexity and size of its models’ options lists, starting with the second-generation A7 Sportback five-door large liftback that enters showrooms this month.
Speaking to journalists at the A7 Sportback media launch in Brisbane, Audi Australia product planning and pricing director Shawn Ticehurst explained that feedback has led to major changes to the design-focused model’s standard specification and options list.
“It’s changing so rapidly at the moment,” he said. “The rules we might’ve used a year or two ago don’t necessarily apply to a car launching in November 2018.
“One of things we heard loud and clear, from both customers and dealers, was introducing simplicity to this end of the marketplace, and that’s one thing we very much strive to do with (the A7 Sportback).
“The standard equipment level is extremely high in this car, and we’ve made a real point of making sure that everything the customer expects in this car is offered as standard equipment.”
Audi Australia claims that up to $10,000 of additional value has been added to the A7 Sportback, while its entry-level cost of $113,900 plus on-road costs has fallen by $340.
This simplicity brief has resulted in Audi Australia offering the A7 Sportback with a Premium Plus package that includes popular individual options, such as 21-inch alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof, at a reduced combined price.
According to Mr Ticehurst, more than 80 per cent of the orders for the A7 Sportback to date feature the Premium Plus package.
“That says it’s resonating well with the customers … but it also says to me that it was good to offer both choices,” he said. “There’s still enough people that are happy with the base spec.”
Mr Ticehurst added that the Premium Plus package “will be a consistent theme rolling out through our model range”, including the upcoming large-size A6 car and Q8 SUV, having made its debut in the A8 upper-large sedan in July.
“These messages of value and simplicity are starting here with A7, and you’re going to see them feed through to a lot of our models,” he said.
While individual options are still available for the A7 Sportback, they are fewer in number than before, helping to reduce the complexity of building an individual vehicle, but Mr Ticehurst indicated that only about 15-to-20 per cent of buyers are expected to customise to this extent.
“There’s not that desire so much anymore to configure the perfect car, go to the dealer, place your order, wait three-to-four months for it come from Germany, and that’s really had to change our product-planning principles.” he said.
According to Mr Tichehurst, most buyers are no longer prepared to wait for an individualised vehicle and instead take dealer-configured stock.
“The message we got loud and clear, from both our customers and dealers, is that expectations around timeframes now are immediate,” he said.
“There’s always a group of people that will wait for a new car, (but) there is an immediacy now in the market, even at this high end, that wasn’t there years ago. It’s changed a lot.
“People will still spend their research time online, whether it’s on our own website, international websites, local media reviews; they’ll spend that time in the research phase … but then walk into a dealership and want a car on their driveway pretty soon after.
“Being able to offer combinations we know people are going to be really satisfied with, means we can fulfil that brief.”
Mr Ticehurst stressed that the role that dealers play in configuring stock has become even more important, given that more buyers than ever are prepared to buy vehicles off the showroom floor.
“We want to have a real nice, logical, clean, easy-to-understand structure, and that’s as important for customers as it is for dealers,” he said.
“Dealers are ordering the majority of these cars, and making sure they understand the logic of our structure, and they’ve had buy-in into it and like what we’re doing, is so crucial to to the process.
“If our dealers aren’t bought into our product strategy, then we’re missing the point.”

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