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Audi is aiming for top spot with range expansion

Audi plans to be the UK’s biggest premium brand on the back of continued growth in its product range.

Audi UK director Jeremy Hicks believes the worst of the economic gloom is behind us.

“Arguably we are at the bottom of the recession. We are operating in a market significantly down on last year, but we are performing a lot better than our competitors, which is reflected in our growing market share,” he said in a video presentation to journalists on the A5 launch.

Audi was the leading premium brand in the UK in the first quarter 2009. It has an order book of 18,000 cars and as such, a spokesman said, it is difficult for Audi to comprehend not maintaining that position into 2010. 

But he said, there would be no volume for volume’s sake.
In 2008 Audi increased market share by more than 12% to take 4.7% of the total new car parc with 100,845 registrations. Market share year-to-date is 5.22%. 

The investment in the dealer network is one of three elements that have led to this pinnacle. There are no plans to increase the size of the network.

“Millions have been invested in facilities and we’ve spent a lot of time working with the people in Audi centres to deliver the customer a much better level of experience and ensure future success,” the spokesman said.

Brand reputation and product development complete the three elements. 

The model range will continue to grow and with it, Audi says, its market share. In 10 years the model choice has increased from 15 to 31. In 2015 the total will be 40. 

New A5 Cabriolet and R8 supercar have just been launched. Next year will see the A1, expected to deliver 8,000 sales a year. 

“Showroom space will be an issue,” the spokesman said. “We will have to prioritise what dealers have what models and meet customer needs for demonstrators either through head office provision or a dealer group network working together to ensure they get the car they want.”

The R8, for example, will only be available through 42 dealerships.

Kevin Walter, managing director of Essex Audi with seven centres in the east London area, said he endorsed the manufacturer’s views. 

But he said: “As a network we started this year with too much stock on the ground and took a tactical decision to cut back. Now we’re in the ridiculous situation of not having that many available for the rest of the year. 

“But we are hopeful of putting margins back into cars and recovering that way.”

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