Thursday, July 26, 2012

Audi dominate race to luxury market hits speed bump

Audi dominate race to luxury market hits speed bump


Audi S5 Coupe is crucial for the automaker of the ambitious growth plans.

By Paul A. Eisenstein, of users logged on
The smell of smoke is easily recognizable, but it takes a second to realize that S5 is from nearby forest fires and not from the tires of the new Audi, because it goes through a close screeching, winding Colorado mountain pass.

Seven seater the chance of its latest products, was recently a handful of American journalists including the S5 Coupe and smaller S4 sedan and the new all-wheel drive crossover, decisive test for the ambitious growth plans Audi vehicles. But as solidly planted the two sporting products may be, there are a few clear bumps in the road ahead for Audi.

In an unexpected announcement Audi AG said CEO Rupert Stadler this week, that again by a full five years is their goal the world's largest premium car manufacturer pushing the automakers. He told the German publication Suddeutsche Zeitung, which should not happen until the year 2020.

"The way is getting bumpier," Stadler said, while stressed, that the automaker of the target "to take and to secure the top position."

As Stadler his plans a few years ago announced, it came as little surprise for Europeans who win the Volkswagen AG subsidiary steadily ground have seen before recently overtaking rivals such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz in some key markets.

But it is a shock to many Americans because the brand long in the shadow of rivals and is overshadowed by Lexus, used Toyota-mark, was until last year consistently leading in the United States luxury sales.

"In Europe, Audi strong for years", said brand marketing manager Loren Angelo during the recent Colorado product preview. "But here in the United States, it was a totally different situation."

Audi was a rapid rise in upstart back in the mid-1980's, break out from the sober and sophisticated mainstream with distinctively designed products such as the 5000 sedan. But the manufacturer has been catching up problems much like before recently plagues Toyota and Lexus products have suffered in a security-related scandal, which all but destroyed the brand if the 5000 has been claimed, to unintended acceleration.

In the course with Toyota, a federal investigation after all Audi - put most of the blame on driver error - but the German import had almost their dynamics, and 1992 sales fell more than 80 percent, leading parent VW Audi out of the American market is seriously considering.

At the end of the company decided it hard out, but it would be almost two decades before Audi regained lost momentum. Ask questions of survival again in the middle of the last decade as Audi of America joined Angelo what described as the "Period of stagnation".

VW more autonomy it pushed things back in the corridor by the German engineering resources, as well as many works now as an almost independent company - although there are still some to share underlying components with Volkswagen and other VW Group brands.

The strategy paid off. A flood of new products, including the supercar R8 clicked with consumers and Audi sales started in such a way that it since the early days of the old 5000 sedan had not. Ironically, it was one of the more resilient luxury brands during the recent recession.

It ended with a U.S. record sales of 117.561 2011 and has set new records since then every month. Last year, the brand reached a 10-percent share of the US luxury market. Is the goal to reach 11 percent for 2012 after Angelo, and for the moment, the US subsidiary is still targeting a near doubling of sales to at least 200,000 per year, by 2018.

To get there, Audi recently announced that it finally open a North American assembly line with long-debated plans driven. The plant, which opened in Mexico by 2016, the exchange rate helps offset now faces in the euro area produced products import penalty Audi. The new plant will be a large number of markets, but another serious challenge for Audi broader global growth plans are addressing.

"I was not surprised" to hear CEO Stadler delay Audi plan are you no. 1 in the, said analyst Dave Sullivan, Inc. "a lot to do, which has with capacity," he said luxury segment AutoPacific, "the biggest thing that holds it back."

In fact, dealers in the United States and some other markets routinely about the long waiting times for some Audi of popular products to complain about such as such as the A5.

But there are other challenges. In the United States not Audi or the level of brand recognition that it needs to 200,000 annual sales, company officials admit to generate. You are quickly up to speed with figures to show that their brand "purchase consideration" - a factor measure, how many luxury buyers watch - even an Audi is fast on the rise of only 42 percent in 2006 to 60 percent in the past year.

Growth in the American market is certainly important - maybe even more significant given the crisis in Europe, which leads to a Continentwide slide in car sales, luxury and mainstream. Verkomplizieren is an unexpected slowdown in the Chinese market, which had been the world's fastest growing markets for luxury vehicles until recently.

Not only the pace of growth has slowed to a crawl but luxury manufacturers - including in particular competitor Mercedes - had to offer new incentives and even price cuts on many of their products.

However, Sullivan and other analysts believe that Audi remains ahead of the luxury segment curve. It has established a clear reputation for leadership and has a solid fan base for the Quattro all-wheel drive technology.

It continues to be difficult to improve the quality and customer satisfaction, according to recent surveys. But the general trend upwards. And Audi to fight Stadler and other officials that the dynamic, easy to to maintain, is well positioned to disrupt the pecking order in the luxury segment - only a little later than originally planned.

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