European Dealer Council: Audi and European sales partners shape the retailing of the future

“Our sales partners are our strategic competitive advantage,” says Horst Hanschur, Head of Sales Strategy at AUDI AG. “We are therefore cooperating closely with our partners with the implementation of our future business model.”

During the European Dealer Council’s conference, AUDI AG presents its new sales model and its plans for the future. The online business, which is being massively expanded, will play an important role in the development of the new sales model. As part of a new digital partnership with dealers, an Internet platform will be further developed to facilitate the entire purchasing process as far as contract signing, including financing, payment and even part exchange of a used car.

In addition, customers are to be individually addressed with new, urban sales formats (such as Audi City, myAudi Sphere or pop-up stores). At the same time, retailing is to become more flexible and efficient. Customers will also profit from an array of tailored services. For example, cars will be kept up to date via mobile telephony with the help of over-the-air software updates. A key access point is the myAudi customer portal, in which all digital solutions are booked, managed and used via an intuitive interface.

The Ingolstadt-based automobile manufacturer sees further potential in new mobility concepts. For example, the company plans to roll out Audi on demand next year also with dealers in selected European markets – modeled on the approach in the United Kingdom, where customers can already use some dealerships as contact points for this service. In this way, Audi’s partners will also benefit from this new digital business segment.

Other topics at the event include a new agency model in the fleet-car business based on the German model, improved processes in everyday business, and even more efficient job roles at car dealerships. For the latter point, the manufacturer has worked out the special “Audi Retail Experience” customer service concept together with its retail partners and has already started a pilot phase in the first dealerships. In addition, following the great success of the Audi Approved :Plus program for used cars up to five years old, the brand has extended its premium customer promise to older cars. The aim of the measures presented is to exploit additional opportunities in the current sales model, to ensure the profitability of the sales organization and to meet changing digital customer expectations.

The new contract forms the basis for the upcoming sales strategy and combines innovative future elements with a proven infrastructure. In addition to the dealer, service and agency agreements, the new contract contains for the first time extensive agreements on e-commerce, the reorganization of customer and data management, the sale of digital products and the further development of the Audi Sport brand. In most European markets, the signed contracts are to be returned by the end of this November and the new contracts with the European dealers will take effect in April 2020.