AM Online

Audi changes emphasis on used car incentives

Audi retailers will now only be incentivised for selling used cars that are more than one year old as the carmaker tries to shift the focus of its approved used car programme onto older cars.

At the moment, half of the cars sold via the Audi approved programme, around 55,000 units, are less than a year old.

Audi head of operations Gary Savage said: “All our incentives will now be weighted to selling cars more than one-year old. Before it was spread across all used cars.”

Savage has recruited an eight-strong used car field force, one for each region, who will provide support for retailers. Audi will also take on a more aggressive marketing approach to boost awareness of its approved used car programme.

Supporting the move will be a recruitment drive to bring more new and used car sales staff into the 120-strong retail network.

“There is a need for a significant injection of staff into the retail network,” Savage said. “We need around 350 more sales staff, about three per centre, due to our increasing model range and higher car parc.”.

Audi has recently re-orientated its Audi Academy which was previously focused on aftersales staff. Now the academy has a direct line responsibility to operations and is putting together a people recruitment programme.

“We believe that Audi has an opportunity to attract high calibre people from within the industry and outside,” said Savage.

“As part of our 2015 plan to sell 120,000 new cars is an objective to make the Audi network a great place to work.”

Much of the growth will be incremental, and that’s been a crucial factor in Audi’s success. It has moved past 100,000 sales thanks to new products, not by churning out more of the same. A3 and A4 account for half its sales, but that is a falling proportion as cars like the R8 and Q7 start to pick up business. New this year will be the A4 Avant, TT diesel, TTS and A3 Cabrio.

With its expanding new car range, greater focus on used cars and aftersales business, the retail network should again achieve return on sales averaging 2.4%.

Jeremy Hicks, Audi UK managing director, told AM: “Dealers ought to be earning £3 million out of their partnership with us.”

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