INGOLSTADT -- Audi is rolling out dedicated space in selected showrooms worldwide for buyers of its R8 sports car and high performance RS models.
The automaker plans to have 200 so-called Audi Sport dealers in place by the year-end. In the longer-term it expects to have Audi Sport dealerships in about 600 locations, or about one in five of its global network of 3,000 dealers.
The selected Audi dealers will provide this specialized "shop-in-shop" service using dedicated sales and aftersales staff to deliver a range of services.
“The guys that drive the RS6 are probably our most premium customers because they are petrol heads that really don’t count the money. We need to handle these people in a different way,” Luca De Meo, Audi board member in charge of marketing and sales, told Automotive News Europe in an interview.
Audi Sport dealers will differentiate the sales and aftersales process for the RS and R8 customers – about 15,000 people a year globally. But they will not become the exclusive sellers of these models, which will continue to be sold through the entire Audi dealer network.
However, De Meo does expect Audi Sport dealers to offer a different consumer experience. “These customers need to have a continuous contact with their sales guy. Maybe this guy is also going to bring them to Le Mans once a year or organize test drives at a nearby racetrack, because you can never push a car like this to its limits on public roads,” he said.
The Audi Sport program is the first step in a broader program to better segment the brand's sales offerings by product and customer type.
Currently Audi treats the potential buyer of a 20,000 euros entry level A1 subcompact in exactly the same way it does an executive looking for a fully loaded A8 flagship priced above 150,000 euros.
Now the company is seeking to segment its offering, starting from the vehicle identification number, because the needs of an A1 owner are different to those of an A8 buyer, De Meo said.