Audi Remains Strong Amidst Test-Rigging Scandal

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As the automobile industry continues to gain momentum, even a scandal can’t keep the automobile brand, Audi, from being one of the most dominant and successful brands today. In the past year alone, over 250,000 jobs have been created on a per month basis. We are also seeing a new demographic emerge that was not present prior to the 2008 recession. Today, ages 20-37 take up 27% of total car sales, which is an 18% increase from 2010. Even though the automobile industry is sustaining the backbone of Audi’s success during Volkswagen’s diesel card recall (due to an emissions test-rigging scandal), Audi has been very strategic in their marketing positioning to whether any upcoming media storms.

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Looking back on 2014, Audi launched the A3 Sedan as a way to tap into the new demographic segment. The entry-level luxury vehicle was the next step for straight-out-of-college Volkswagen Jetta buyers. Over the course of the next twelve months, along with a strong marketing strategy and complimentary campaigns, the Audi A3 became one of the most successfully launched brands of the year. The car came in first among its product class and fourth across all industries based on The Brand Derby. The Brand Derby is a survey that Business Standard carries out every year where a group of marketing professionals rank the most successful brand launches of the previous year. They then provide an analysis for why the brands have been able to set themselves apart from the competition.

Audi A3 Sedan was able to become a leader purely on their brand positioning, and so, their marketing and advertising strategy resulted in their product launch success.

  1. Audi was able to understand what the consumer needs. The automobile industry is constantly changing, and in 2014, Audi captured exactly what their consumers were looking for by analyzing BIG data.
  2. Once Audi was able to understand their consumer wants and needs, they created a marketing mix that provided direct and indirect cues for consumers to form their own opinions based on their experiences. As a result, the Audi A3 Sedan created a solid positioning. Dean of MICA, Atish Chattopadhyay, supported this notion by saying, “Brand Audi has positioned itself one that is synonymous with success. It is an alpha male positioning, as the brand embodies style, power and class.”
  3. The automobile industry has a way of finding things that consumers want before they think of them. The Audi A3 Sedan proactive in providing the following:
    • As a leader in Xenons and LEDs, Audi A3 Sedan created a beautiful interior and exterior design.
    • Using the sub-brand, Quattro, it provided leading all-wheel technologies and systems. Quattro is considered to be the best in the business.
    • Audi killed two birds with one stone by sharing parts with Volkswagen, Nissan, and Porsche. Not only were they able to receive savings for operational costs, but also the parts came from a trusted source so there was no question of quality manufacturing.
    • Creating the only product in its class, the Audi A3 is the only luxury sedan. The competing Mercedes, BMW, and Volvo cars are hatchbacks. The A3 is also the cheapest sedan in its segment.
  4. The Audi A3 Sedan campaign used digital media effectively and it showed. The A3’s “Stay Uncompromised” marketing and advertising campaign won Silver at the 47th North American Effie Awards in 2015. The campaign was designed to introduce the brand’s entry-level luxury sedan. Its focus was showing fearless individuals that refused to compromise engaged the younger generation. The campaign included:
    • TV, print, radio, digital banners, social media, web assets, dealership projection lighting, point of sale banners, and CRM email campaigns.

At the end of the day, the Audi A3 Sedan speaks for itself. The branding, marketing, and advertising strategies were simply a way to take the product to the next level. Analysts say that Volkswagen will still anticipate decreases in sales in coming months due to the test-rigging scandal, but we don’t think it will be too much of a burden for the brand to gain back trust, especially in today’s strong and dominating market.