Audi Invest in Flagship Irish Retail Centre

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–      €80 million investment set to transform Audi retail network in the next 3 years.

Audi has today launched their first dedicated Audi Centre in Ireland, stating their intent to develop Audi further in the Irish Market. The flagship Centre in Ballsbridge, Dublin is part of a five year investment plan by Audi in Ireland which highlights the company’s drive to become the number one prestige car brand in Ireland by 2015. Audi has also announced plans to significantly expand their model range and undertake a comprehensive restructure of their franchise retail network with a collective investment of €80 million over the next three years, resulting in a nationwide network of 14 dedicated full-time dealerships increasing staff numbers at retail level from 35 currently to over 150.

The stunning Audi Centre hosted an exclusive VIP launch to showcase the new showroom and also unveil the new Audi A8 to the distinguished guests. The event featured a special performance from world famous Chinese pianist and global Audi ambassador ‘Lang Lang’. The Audi Centre launch highlights the ambitious growth strategy that Audi Ireland is embarking upon.

Audi Ireland plans to build on what was a successful 2009 which saw them expand their market share in Ireland from 3.3% to 4.2% despite a major contraction in luxury car sales. Over the next few years’ Audi’s product range will expand from 34 to 42 models and as part of the expansion strategy Audi Ireland plan to completely re-structure their dealer network to improve capacity and service levels.  This re-structure will eventually result in a move from 34 sales and service dealerships to approximately 14 by 2013, which will result in an improved service for Audi customers.

Audi Ireland Director, Fintan Knight commented, “In 2010 we expect some recovery in the economy and a return to stability in the financial and regulatory environment. We believe, however, that the period of adjustment for the automotive sector is likely to be prolonged and several significant risks remain. Audi regained full ownership in Ireland in 2008 with a five year plan to invest in the brand and we have been resolutely sticking with our plan”.

Knight added, “Together with our franchise partners we will make significant long term investments in people, facilities and systems. We expect that this investment could be collectively over €80 million in the next three years and we expect that we will increase dedicated Audi staff at retail level from under 35 today to well over 150 in the years to come”.

As part of the growth strategy, Audi has started a unique program to develop entrepreneurial talent in the retail automotive sector in Ireland.  The Audi Sponsored Dealer Program operated in conjunction with leading credit institutions and Audi’s own bank is designed to select and nurture talented entrepreneurs and to assist them with managing the risk of major automotive retail investments.

In June 2009, Audi turned 100 years old and the brand is embarking on a substantial global investment plan that has seen on-average €2 billion committed each year into product and manufacturing investment. Since 2005 Audi has increased its model portfolio from 15 models to 35 and has led the development of important technologies from refined and efficient TDI engines, to lightweight aluminium components and chassis. Audi has also caused some excitement with spectacular products such as the stunning Audi R8 V10 and concept cars like the e-tron.

In 2009 Audi exceeded its global sales forecast by achieving 950,000 unit sales globally, representing only a 5.4% contraction versus our record breaking 1 million units in 2008 in a challenging year for the car industry.

·         In Europe, Audi assumed leadership of the prestige market with sales totalling 619,000 units and a market share of 4.3%.

·         In China, Audi is the prestige market leader with 159,000 units sold in 2009 and grew market share by approximately 33%.

·         In the USA, Audi continue to close the gap to their competitors and last year, succeeded in expanding their import share from 7.1% to 8.3%. Audi gained almost 83.000 customers in 2009.