News - Audi
Avant Australia fair
Audi hopes young Australians will soon see wagons as cool, like they do in Europe
8 Sep 2008
By PHILIP LORD
AUDI Australia believes that one of the keys to building up sales of passenger car-based European station wagons lies in luring younger customers away from popular practical sports-oriented vehicles such as the humble Aussie ute.
Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the A4 Avant last week, Audi Australia marketing manager Immo Buschmann said that the Australian prestige station wagon demographic was much different – that is, older – to that of Europe.
“It’s interesting because all the young people in Europe, they drive Avant. We have nearly 50-50 per cent share,” said Mr Buschmann, adding that he was hopeful image-leading high-performance Euro wagons would begin to make an impression on younger Australians.
He said the trend in Europe began in the late 1980s, taking off for Audi with RS2 and the RS4 versions of the Avant.
“We hope this paradigm shift will be happening in the market (here) as well,” Mr Buschmann said.
“If you can get a paradigm shift there in that segment, where people are looking for a cool, lifestyle car where you don’t actually put your surfboard out on the back, you actually lock them in the car, with that paradigm shift in the consumer’s mind and with people willing to spend a little bit more for a quality car, then I think the Avant segment will grow. But it’s going to take some time.”
Mr Buschmann (left) does not believe that the SUV market is quite the same – at least when it comes to Audi’s own SUVs, such as the impending Q5 due next year.
“We’ll have to see what the impact is when the Q5 comes in, but I think the Q5 is a completely different car (than the A4 Avant),” he said.
“I think a person who is in the market for an A4 Avant is not necessarily (interested in) a SUV, so we’ll have to see when the Q5 comes to market. But at the moment we’re confident that it won’t have any cannibalisation.”
Mr Buschmann said there were all the indications of a strong market for a car with lots of practical space, but he declined to nominate expected sales volume.
“Given how well the A3 Sportback is going, I’m pretty sure there is a market for Avant in Australia but I’m just not sure how big it is,” he said.
“That’s why at the moment I couldn’t really say how much we could expand the sales of the Avant without sacrificing the sedan.”
Read more:First drive: Audi's ambitious A4 Avant attack
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