BEFORE the decade is out, aspiring Audi owners will be able to experience the enjoyment of owning a four-ringed model without full ownership or financial commitment, thanks to a new Audi On Demand service that’s due to launch in Australia by 2020.
Under the new scheme, customers will be able to simply hire any new Audi model for the length of time that suits their purposes through a simple online application, and hand back the keys when they are done.
The service has completed a trial in Munich and San Francisco generating a warm reception and a diverse range of customers, which has prompted a larger global roll out that will include 15 nations including a number of Australian cities within three years.
Speaking at Audi’s inaugural Summit in Barcelona, Audi Business Innovation executive Bettina Berhardt explained that a number of potential markets had been identified for their demand for premium vehicles.
“It’s a new offer for customers that means flexible usage of premium cars and that is interesting in almost all markets, so Australia expressed interest and we are interested to push it in that region to bring that to life,” she said.
“It’s not defined yet when it will come … but it’s part of the planning until 2020. That’s confirmed.”
Customers wanting to hire an Audi for a limited time can browse the list of vehicles on offer via a smartphone application and book in the start and finish date before checking out and paying.
Under a standard arrangement, the customer will pick the car up from a participating dealership but an optional Concierge service will deliver and pick the car up from a specified location, boosting appeal and convenience, says Audi.
Exact Australian locations are still being finalised, but Bernhardt confirmed that centres in most major capitals were part of the plan.
“It will concentrate on the main cities. Mainly we’re talking about Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane. We will start with one city then expand to other locations where it makes sense to have an offer. Not for the rural area.”
No subscription charge will be asked to join Audi On Demand and customers will simply pay for the rental, which will vary in cost according to model value and duration. Local pricing will be confirmed closer to the launch date but, in Germany, the company asks AU$156 (€105) per day for an Audi A3, or AU$21 (€14) per hour for an Audi Q2, for example.
Bernhardt explained that the ‘now economy’ was breeding a new type of consumer that wants products and services instantly but values flexibility and not having to sign up to contracts or leases. Customers will be able to spend as little as one hour in their chosen Audi or up to three months.
While the deal is expected to boost Audi’s profile, the service is not just a marketing incentive, said Bernhardt, and was intended to generate cash for the company as its priority.
“There is a business model behind it so it has to be profitable, it has to be profitable for the dealers if we include dealers. It’s not a marketing topic, it’s a business model.
During the trials around the world, some customers had used the service as a type of extended test drive to become better acquainted with a particular model before a full purchase, while other customers enjoyed the convenience of using the vehicle for specific trips or holidays.
Berhardt also revealed that different nations had also demonstrated dramatically different preferences in the cars on offer.
“We have a project running in Hong Kong and they prefer the e-tron. At Munich airport the RS6 is the most booked model. In San Francisco many people go skiing over the weekend. They do not have a car but they use the Q7 so the Q7 is highly booked in winter.
“You pay per usage. You order a car and pay the amount of money for the amount of time you use the car. In general, Audi On Demand is open for everyone who wants to register.”
How are you finding our new site design? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts at email@example.com.
Get your monthly fix of news, reviews and stories on the greatest cars and minds in the automotive world.
Genesis GV60 EV spied inside and out
With its new G80 Electric limo already out in the open, Genesis's next electric vehicle is this: the GV60 small SUV
New Maserati GranTurismo electric supercoupe teased
Maserati shares first images of upcoming new new GranTurismo, the company's first EV
2022 Lexus NX revealed, Australian variants confirmed
Lexus has revealed the new generation of its best-selling model, and when it’ll be here