DEARBORN – Audi AG has learned from its marketing missteps and will unfurl a more American-specific advertising campaign in the spring to coincide with the entry of its redesigned TT roadster.
“You’ve got to be noticed in the U.S. And to be noticed, you have to be bold,” Johan de Nysschen, executive vice president-Audi of America Inc., says at the Automotive News World Congress here.
The 2007 campaign will replace last year’s “Never Follow” advertising tagline with a new pitch that’s “a little bit more bold and perhaps a little bit more American,” he says, noting Audi has been guilty of a one-size-fits-all approach by marketing vehicles in America in much the same way they’re targeted in Europe.
“We’ve learned our lesson, and we’ve recognized we need to be more relevant to the needs and aspirations of American (buyers),” de Nysschen says
Without providing a specific target, Audi predicts 2007 will be another record year for U.S. sales, with 90,116 deliveries last year, according to Ward’s data, for a 0.5% market share.
De Nysschen targets Audi’s “rightful” U.S. market as doubling in the next decade. To that end, Audi this year intends to increase its Internet marketing fourfold.
The German auto maker also intends to add 10 new Audi-only dealerships to its existing base of 100 in the U.S. There are another 167 Audi dealers that are combined with parent Volkswagen Group or other premium brands in the U.S.
Additionally, the auto maker still plans to bring to market 19 new products between 2005 and the end of 2007 to help grow share, de Nysschen says.
He’s also optimistic Audi buyers will embrace the new generation of diesel engines starting to enter the U.S. market. In the next seven years, de Nysschen expects about 15%-20% of Audi vehicles sold here to run on diesel.
But he is less comfortable with E85, a biofuel blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. “We don’t like it,” he says, referring to the lower energy content of E85 vs. diesel.
Audi also is developing its own hybrid vehicle, but de Nysschen doesn’t indicate when it will be available in the U.S.