Automotive industry Sales | News

AS the automotive world continues to deal with protracted supply issues and general pandemic-induced business disruptions, an interesting side effect has emerged: customers are becoming more patient.

Speaking to GoAuto at the local reveal of the RS e-tron GT last week, Audi Australia product manager Matthew Dale said buyer behavior had been reshaped by dealer stock limitations. , with a growing number of Audi customers opting instead for a wait of several months. to secure built-to-order vehicles.

It’s easy to understand why. Supply issues are virtually universal across all brands, so not being able to satisfy a customer’s desire for a Q7 doesn’t necessarily mean they’re walking down the road to buying a Mercedes GLE instead. Benz is in the same situation as Audi, after all.

On the contrary, dealers now have more success in convincing potential customers to spec a car exactly to their tastes and wait for it to be built and shipped.

With desirable models in stock that often command significant premiums over particularly poor value for money retail and used cars in today’s market, it seems the buyers who can afford to wait are the ones who get the best deal.

And for brands with a very complex range, the possibilities for customization mean that customers will often end up with the exact configuration they want, rather than having to compromise on colors and trim, or pay an extra charge for option packages they don’t want on a vehicle. which is already in the forecourt of a concessionaire.

Good things come to those who wait – and the strategy of directing customers to the configurator instead of the inventory list can make owners happier in the long run.

“Being in the premium segment, it gives customers access to other engine variants and options to create something uniquely their own,” Mr. Dale said.

“Part of being premium, as far as we see it, is giving customers choice. We are in many segments and we serve many different customers,” added Peter Strudwicke, Product Planner at Audi Australia.

With Audi having launched 27 new or refreshed individual models in 2020 and now launching an all-new A3 small car range this quarter, Audi customers have an abundance of models to choose from.

The e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT will also crown the range later this year, adding an extra battery-powered shine to that brought by the e-tron SUV and e-tron Sportback SUV – which themselves also have recently received boost in the form of hi-po S variants.

Audi’s recent decision to discontinue the Q2 after the end of the current generation will, however, give the bottom of Audi’s SUV lineup a little less choice.

Although Audi CEO Markus Duesmann considers the affordable Q2 to go against Audi’s high-end brand image, it has nevertheless played an important role in this country as a model of conquest , bringing a younger demographic to the brand and strengthening its presence in the small SUV market. – one of the fastest growing segments in Australia.

At the opposite end of the price spectrum, the e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT will take pride of place as Audi’s technology and performance flagships, although sales are largely dependent on the number of vehicles that the local company office can secure. the Neckarsulm assembly plant that builds them.

Porsche has made a respectable trade in its Taycan and Taycan Cross Turismo, both of which use the same all-electric J1 architecture as the e-tron GT.

Total Taycan volume for 2021 came in at 531 cars, but it’s worth mentioning that this is spread across a wider price spectrum (the Taycan’s entry price is lower than the Audi’s at 156,300 $, compared to $181,700 for the e-tron GT), and two body styles – the regular Taycan and the jacked-up Taycan Cross Turismo crossover wagon.

As a result, Audi’s more expensive two-variant e-tron GT range may not have quite the same showroom appeal as its Porsche cousin.

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