Pilot will involve dealerships but signals intent to increase level of online sales to customers from 2020.
A special edition Audi TT will be available to buyers directly on Audi’s German website from June 5 , 2019. But they will have to be quick; only 99 units of the Audi TT Quantum Gray Edition will be on sale.
Customers can inquire online about leasing or financing terms, and have the TT delivered anywhere in Germany
The initiative comes as dealerships are under pressure from online agregators and finance houses. Audi however is fully involving its dealerships in this rollout.
“We are garnering experience and learning a lot about user and buyer structures through this pilot project,” said Martin Sander, vice president global marketing and sales at Audi.
The Audi TT Quantum Gray Edition is limited to 99 units and priced at 62,305.03 euros. The sales offer is valid throughout the European Economic Area, although its likely most sales will go to Germany.
The model includes special equipment, such as the express red interior design package and partial matting of the “TT” clearcoat on the exterior.
They can also have the vehicle registered beforehand with their desired license plate and inquire online about leasing or financing with no obligation.
Audi is using its AR and VR technology for Live Consultation. The customer is connected with a consultant, who uses AR goggles to send live images to the customer from inside the vehicle.
The company is introducing new contracts to its dealer network in April 2020. These will for the first time commit dealers to e commerce options as well as traditional sales channels.
Audi insits retail dealerships will continue to play a key role for Audi. “The emphasis here is on customer consultation and communication as well as service,” it said in a press release.
“This much is clear: Online sales is just one pillar of future sales. Bricks-and-mortar retailing continues to be a strong and reliable partner for us even in times of digitisation,” said Sander.
Audi plans to market an increasing number of selected models online via an e commerce shop beginning in early 2020.
Car retail is being affected by the changes in shopping habits and the availabilty of cars online, as well as new usership models.
Some dealerships fear marginalisation as OEM increase direct selling, or use new digital partners, but industry watchers believe that the future will be more mixed.