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Audi to boost quattro image

Marketing push to showcase lifestyle link to Audi’s unique AWD proposition in Oz

6 May 2013

AUDI will attempt to boost sales of its ‘quattro’ vehicles in Australia to record levels with the first advertising and marketing campaign dedicated to its famed all-wheel-drive system.

Designed to help further differentiate the brand from rival luxury contenders, the campaign will focus strongly on the passenger cars that have long offered quattro – such as the A4 and A6 sedans and Avant wagons – as well as the company’s growing range of SUV models.

The campaign will go beyond just showing the extra traction and security benefits of AWD in heavy rain, snow, and ice, by showing how quattro can enhance or complement peoples’ lifestyles.

To more effectively connect with Australian consumers, the commercials being prepared by Audi’s marketing department will include gravel and dirt road driving sequences.

The quattro marketing push comes hot on the heels of a similar ‘Land of quattro’ strategy launched in Europe last year, which succeeded in lifting the profile of what remains a largely unique product proposition for Audi in the luxury car segment.

While direct competitors BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Infiniti all offer AWD SUVs, none specify it on any of their passenger car models currently on sale in Australia.

Dedicated ‘Land of quattro’ microsites with user-generated content showing personal experiences with AWD-equipped Audi passenger cars and SUVs may also be part of the campaign, as they have in Europe.

According to Audi, the quattro push “documents the vast variety of possibilities offered by the broadest line-up of AWD models in the premium segment.“

 center imageFrom top: Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle and the Audi SQ5.

Markets with the campaign already underway include Canada, Germany, Russia, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland, with more – including Australia – joining the fray by the end of the year.

Speaking with GoAuto at the SQ5 TDI release in Tasmania last week, Audi Australia managing director Andrew Doyle said the company will “embark on a quattro push later on in the year”.

“We’ve successfully run the campaign around the world. But it will be adjusted for Australia. It will be set in an Australian environment.

“And it’s not just about snow. Having quattro is about driving in the rain, on the gravel – it’s about the lifestyle, whatever or wherever that might be.”

Mr Doyle believes most Australian luxury car buyers still do not associate Audi with all-wheel drive passenger cars, even though the company has offered it consistently on every model (bar the Volkswagen Polo-based A1 and its short-lived aluminium-bodied A2 predecessor) since the original Ur-Quattro Coupe turbo 4WD flagship illustrated the advantages of the system in 1980 by completely dominating rallying.

“It really is a unique strength that we have,” said Mr Doyle.

“Quattro is something purists think about Audi, but not outside of that.”

Mr Doyle hopes the campaign’s raising of quattro awareness will translate into new conquest buyers, to help catapult his firm’s annual sales figure above the 15,000-unit target in Australia, for a five-plus per cent improvement over last year’s sales record of 14,535 vehicles.

“Over time I’m confident it will have the same effect here as in Europe,” he said.

While sales of quattro-equipped Audis have steadily been on the rise for some time (exceeding 42 per cent of sales in Europe last year, helped by the introduction of the Q7 in 2006, Q5 in 2008, and Q3 almost two years ago), the AWD system’s penetration in non-SUV model volumes hit an all-time high of 25 per cent over the last 12 months.

This is significantly higher than what the non-SUV BMW and Mercedes-Benz AWD equivalents have achieved.

Globally Audi currently produces around 150 quattro-equipped models, though this number is expected to jump sharply over the next few years, as a new line of specialised, stylised crossover vehicles known as the Q2, Q4, and Q6 are released to take on the likes of the Range Rover Evoque and BMW X6.

An all-new Q7 will also join the ranks from 2015 in Australia.

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