How Audi Succeed? This is one of the biggest questions in automotive industry. According to recent figures, Audi sold more cars than its competitors in US. And, many people can give an answer to you with lots of numbers and lots of PowerPoint slides. However, I would like to explain it from a customer perspective.
Two decades ago, Audi and Mercedes and BMW may not appear in the same sentence. Because, there was no strong presence of Audi in luxury car market. In those years, the luxury car market was dominated by Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar. No one ever thought, Audi would became the key player and create its own customer group.
Personally, I loved and hated the Audi. I hated the Q7, I loved A8. I found A1 pointless, I adored the lines of the A7. This type of extreme feelings towards a brand is a good indication of success, because they are doing their job very well and ignite our feelings.
Let’s go back to Audi’s success. You might be thinking how Audi achieved this success by designing cars that look exactly same and targeted for different segments. One of the biggest risks is designing cars that look exactly the same. You can kill the motivation to buy a more expensive car and people cannot identify the car’s name easily because they look exactly the same. Audi A4 looks exactly the same as A6, A6 looks like A7, A7 looks like A8. This chain reaction goes forever, but many people ignored this photocopy inspired design and purchased an Audi. So, we need to think the motivates behind this consumption!
Audi did one thing very good, improving the quality! When you look at the interior of an Audi from 1990s and from 2012, you can see the huge improvement. Firstly thanks to Bentley, Audi A6, A7, A8 turned into reasonably priced Bentleys. Their plastic quality improved, Audi started to offer new materials, craftsmanship quality improved so much. The physical gaps between the parts are nearly impossible to spot now. There is nearly nothing inside an Audi that can be perceived as cheap or low quality. In the meantime; Audi improved the engines, gearboxes, safety systems, comfort, quality of the drive. Even the Quattro’s ridiculous understeering is vanished by the Active Sport Differential.
Why Audi did all these things? Because, Audi needs to close the gap between the Mercedes and BMW. Audi needs to be better than those brands, so customers will prefer an Audi instead of a Mercedes or a BMW. And also, Audi coupled those improvements with very attractive design. And again, whenever I get inside an Audi A8 or A6, I always feel like I am inside a Bentley with a reasonable price. I used to be feeling, I am inside an Audi that is the posh version of a Volkswagen.
Of course, there are more details why Audi achieved this success but when you consider the purchase stages of a car and how people judge the cars in the dealers are closely related with the points that I mentioned above. Attractive design, high quality, high technology, improved driving experience and improved brand image. Design, Quality and Technology; these are the main motives to improve the sales figures of a car company.