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Audi plans to lead prestige

Audi Australia boss Uwe Hagen says many new models including the A1 pictured will bring converts to the brand.

The A1 will be followed by the A7 four-door coupe and a compact Q1 soft-roader, with e-Tron electric cars and a family of hybrids also on the drawing board in Germany.  The rest of this year is relatively quiet for Audi in Australia, once the latest A8 flagship and R8 roadster hit the road, but then things will explode.

"Once 2010 is over there is a fireworks display of new products arriving," says Uwe Hagen, the new managing director of Audi Australia.  "You can expect we are bringing new products. We have, more or less, new offers in every segment.

"(But) we're not launching models because we feel like it. It has to make sense."  Audi plans to have 42 models in its showrooms by 2015, up from 27 today, and Hagen says many will - like the A1 - bring converts to the brand.

"The premium market is growing in Australia, but I think we have taken more than other participants. In 2010 we are going for another year of growth."

Hagen says Audi is working to a new corporate goal, Strategy 2020, after laying the groundwork for annual sales of one million cars, a new-look dealer network and breakthrough technologies in its Route 15 blueprint.

"The customer is our focus points. We have to delight our customers.  That is the centre of our work, our mission.  Volume is not our number one goal." 

Audi is not promising to become global number one on the sales front, which would mean demoting BMW, but is aiming for a broad sweep of successes in everything from profitability to customer satisfaction.

In Australia, the sales total is likely to pass 15,000 cars by 2015 but Hagen is focussed on other areas of his business including service and secondhand values.  "Sales will sell the first car, then all the others are coming through the service," he says.

His approach is more restrained than the all-out showroom push of recent years which has seen Audi rated consistently as the country's fastest growing brand across all categories.  "I think if we follow this path we will see the last 10 years did not come by chance."