“Downsizing” or “buy-down” trends — these have been the buzz words for sales in the motor industry for a few years now, but they’re more prevalent than ever in 2020 as the wheels of the economy start to turn again. The pre-owned space is seeing a lot more focus with a number of motor companies strategically repositioning to capitalise on a stronger resurgence in the pre-owned space than in new vehicle sales.

It’s certainly the case for Audi South Africa. Where others have chosen a much more conservative approach in terms of product planning looking to move a lot of new product introductions to 2021, Audi SA has chosen a considered offense with no fewer than six new product, facelifts or derivative introductions still on the cards for 2020.  

The new Audi Q3 range launched in 2019 is expected to grow in the last quarter of 2020 with the arrival of a new model variant in the form of the 2.0-litre, 132kW, 40 TFSI. Also on the cards is the sleek new Q3 Sportback, a coupé-styled SUV that looks very similar to the Q8, albeit in a smaller form.

Around the same time, Audi plans to bring in the new Audi A4 Sedan, facelifted versions of the Q7 SUV and A5 and for the performance lovers, yes the SQ8 and S7 will also make an appearance in South Africa before the year draws to a close.

Opening 2021 with a Performance Bang

In 2021, Audi intends to start the first half of the year with a massive performance focus. The S8 luxo-sports sedan will be launched as will the facelifted Audi R8 supercar. Updated versions of the Audi TTRS and the RS5 are also set to be launched. RS as well as Avant/Wagon fans will be delighted to know that the Audi is indeed bringing a few RS-badged versions to Mzansi. Possibly the most anticipated of these is the RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback which will be launched along with the RSQ3 and the 441kW, 800Nm RSQ8.

Audi RSQ8
Audi RS6 Avant

Audi has also maintained that the all-electric Audi e-Tron will also be introduced to SA consumers sometime in 2021, after a few months of testing, customer engagement and infrastructural upgrades at dealerships.

Audi e-tron

The Business Plan

At a digital press briefing to media this week, the Audi SA executive team gave us some insight into their plans. CEO Trevor Hill painted the global picture for the brand: 26% down year-on-year and 11% down in the African context. He anticipates a quicker recovery in other markets where the economies are better poised to do so. In our local market, he and his team have taken a much longer view of things. They unpacked this by highlighting some key strategic objectives in order to realise an upturn. These included a shift in product focus, a bolstered digital experience, packaged offerings for easier customer sales and of course, dealer assistance and a concerted marketing effort.

Digital Enhancement

It’s no surprise that Audi, like others is investing into a smarter and more efficient digital user experience to enhance the online sales process and thereby allow users more accessibility in ordering cars. Among these enhancements is an online stock locator that will be added to the website for immediate stock browsing for customers, including location and spec. Increased user functionality such as online application forms is also part of the digital focus.

Less Focus on Premium Products

Audi is forecasting a decline in the premium segment overall. The company is therefore going to be focusing on their smaller badged models. In trying to capitalise on accelerated buy-down trends, Audi will be pushing hard on the A1, Q2, A3 and Q3 models, foreseeing 79% of their sales to be within this space.

Pricing

Thanks to the exchange rate and the reduced demand, pricing is expected to rise in the premium segment, at least in the short-term. Audi is taking a “considered view” for pricing locally and rather doing some interim pricing at the moment, with a view to possibly revise pricing if the rand-euro exchange rate fluctuates in the favour of consumers. The reduced lending rate also adds to the pricing conundrum and Audi is indeed hopeful that this will at least assist in bolstering their sales for the remainder of the year and into 2021.

There’s much to consider in light of the myriad economic factors at play in South Africa right now. Audi SA seems set to take advantage of whatever stimulus there may be with a strong new product offensive and brave outlook.

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Onlineautos
Author: Onlineautos