I realised that I was complaining about Audi for a quite long time. My main complaint with the Audi is the design. Probably many people will not agree with me and surely will say, what is wrong the Audi’s design; they all look amazing. I am not saying the opposite, they really look amazing in addition to they look the same! This problem is not emerged by Audi; Mercedes and BMW had it as well. These two brands used to have look-a-like models, which seem to be produced by a photocopy machine. Eventually, Mercedes and BMW got rid of this virus and succeed to create a unique brand identity and unique product identities.
I think this is the place, where the problem starts. A car needs to express two main things through design; brand identify and product identity. When people see the car, they need to realise and remember the brand and at the same time, they need to distinguish the model. For instance, each Mercedes model has a similar front grill but never the same; BMW has the same kidney front grill for each model but it never leads to confuse the models. However, Audi has the same very big front grill for the each model with a very similar front look, and that’s the problem.
When same front grill is commonly used by each model, it helps people to identify the brand easy but at the same time, it reveals the problem of looking the same from the front. So, this leads to strength the brand identify, when you look at the range of Audi, you see the brand identify is very clearly; but product identify a bit blur. However, the exposure of brand identify is risky. When you add too much, it overlaps the product identify and when you add too less, you have totally different products with nothing in common (Previous generation of Kia models are good example for this). And I do know that, it is really hard to adjust this. It may seem easy to judge but a very challenge task to achieve.
Let’s go back to brand and product identify overlap. In order to avoid this, Mercedes and BMW generated different type of front looks, so people can understand the difference even from a distance. That’s the key point, if a car can be recognised from a 200-meter distance by its brand, you have the brand identify. And at the same time if the product can be identified, you achieved perfect combination. Unfortunately, it is really hard to identify the Audi models from distance, sometimes you need to check the back of the car to understand which model it is.
So where is the problem? The problem is, if the cars look the same, where is point of buying the more expensive one? Many customers are not crazy for super cleaver technology, they are excited by the brand and if they could access the brand in a cheaper way, they would definitely good for that! For that reason, you may see many people are saying Audi A4 is a great car and may hesitate to buy A6! Because, they look the same like. Like Aston Martin models!
I do know that Audi realised this problem, and is going to create a new design concept for future models. My suggestion is to make Audi logo bigger and remove that the same looking grills from the design range. Each model should have the Audi DNA in the grill but not the same grill!
Audi, Mercedes, BMW