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Audi takes Audi Sport to the red line

Brand value: Audi’s distinctive ‘red rhombus’ performance car logo will be more broadly applied in dealerships and advertisements as the company goes after BMW’s M and Mercedes’ AMG.

Australia becomes second country to roll out Audi Sport branding program

14 Feb 2014

AUDI is preparing to rev up its high-performance Audi Sport presence in Australia with the national rollout over the next 12 months of special Audi Sport ‘shops’ within dealerships and distinctive advertising for its sports models.

Audi Sport is the Ingolstadt-based car-maker’s answer to BMW’s M and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance brands, with Australia becoming just the second market in the world after Britain to get the new red-and-white treatment as a concerted branding campaign.

Apart from high-performance vehicles from Audi’s Quattro GMbH hot shop, Audi Sport is the umbrella marketing term covering motorsport – including customer racing programs – sponsorships such as yacht racing, merchandise and product individualisation packages.

Officially, the ‘Audi Sport Sales Concept’ is a pilot project in Australia, but the enthusiasm for the scheme is likely to make it a permanent fixture on the Audi landscape.

Audi has three main sports levels across its vehicle range – S, RS and R – as well as the S-Line packages.

Sales of S, RS and R Audi models rocketed 172 per cent last year, to 1121 units. This compares with BMW’s 623 M vehicles and Mercedes-Benz’s 1650 AMG-enhanced cars.

Of the 16,009 Audis sold last year, seven per cent were sports models – up from three per cent the previous year.

Audi is in the midst of adding to its Audi Sports model line-up, with the raunchy RS Q3 compact SUV and RS 7 luxury four-door sportback ready for imminent release.

 center imageAudi Australian managing director Andrew Doyle (left) said the Audi Sport “shop within a showroom” would display Audi Sport merchandise, alloy wheels and accessories.

He said the displays in each dealership would deliver a “strong message of sportiness in the Audi brand”.

The displays will feature Audi Sport’s trademark ‘Red Rhombus’ (a rhombus is a four-sided shape with oblique angles, used in the badges of S, RS and R Audi sportscars) in striking floor-to-ceiling displays.

The same shapes and colour scheme will be applied to advertising of Audi Sport vehicles, setting these models apart from the remainder of the range.

Mr Doyle told GoAuto that the scheme would be rolled out progressively this year, with at least four new “terminal-style” Audi dealerships currently under construction or about to begin construction incorporating it into the showroom layout.

Among the new dealerships being built is one in Melbourne that will become the second biggest in Australia after the flagship Audi Centre Sydney.

Audi Centre Melbourne, owned by high-profile prestige car dealer Bobby Zagame, has torn down its current dealership at the top end Swanston Street in Melbourne’s CBD, and is building a new four-storey dealership at the cost of $20 million to house Audi’s expanding range.

As well, the dealership has acquired another site in West Melbourne for its service centre, from where it is temporarily running its sales operations until the new dealership is ready in about November.

Two other Victorian dealerships – Audi Centre Doncaster and Audi Bendigo – are also preparing to build new premises in the “terminal” style that looks like an airport terminal.

In Tasmania, Audi Centre Hobart is also getting a new showpiece showroom that Mr Doyle says will be the best dealership in that city.

“Our investors are prepared and willing to invest because they can see the growth in Audi,” he said.

“We have 37 dealerships, and most of them were redeveloped in a $270 million program from 2007 to 2010, and there just these few which are left to be built, mainly because they need to expand.”

Even Audi Australia’s own massive dealership in Sydney is feeling the pinch.

The company has acquired a property next door to expand its service department, adding 20 new service bays with room for more as demand grows.

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