I was notified by my dealer this week that my loaded Brilliant Red S5 has been built in Ingolstadt and that it will be on the next boat arriving around the end of November. Today I got a call from another local dealer who told me that he had two Black on Black fully loaded S5 in stock and ready for sale. Since it was late in the day and I couldn't make it to that dealer I decided to go to the closest Audi dealer to my house (it is not one of the two above) and look at the two colors (on two A4's) side by side and make a decision if I really wanted to wait on the Red. (I decided to wait as just about every car in the lot was either Black, Silver or Gray and I want something different from the Black on Black BMW I have now...)
But here is where it gets interesting - I was at the dealer after hours and nobody was there except a cleaning crew and two people inside talking. Just as I was to leave I stopped to drool again at their Magma/Red S5 demo out front. The two people inside walked by and said - nice car isn't it. Come to find out they were the dealership owner and the Audi Regional/District Manager. They first told me that this dealer also had two Black S5s on site, fully loaded and available for sale now.
I asked a few questions and learned some interesting things:
All dealers were given allocations from 1 to 4 S5 that could be delivered before the end of the year. The number of allocations was done first at the region level and the individual cars were allocated to dealers based on the dealership's size and their previous sales performance.
The factory then used a staged plan for building US Spec cars, here is how they were set (I am sure I forgot some of the specifics, but this is the jist of it):
US BUILD BATCH 1
A set numbers of identical (I want to say 150) Magma/Red S5 US spec demos were built in Ingolstadt and shipped to select dealers. All dealers had to agree to lease the cars from Audi and not to sell them until 4+mos after delivery. Dealers were not required to get a demo.
US BUILD BATCH 2
By this time, each region knew which of their initial allocation had been 'sold' (had deposits/orders from customers) and which were not 'sold'. All of those that were not 'sold' they were built at this point as Phantom Black / Black interior cars - as this is the most popular (and saleable) color combination. The cars were then set for delivery to dealers who did not sell their initial allocations or that were deemed to have the market opportunity or that have shown that ability to sell additional cars. These are the cars that are showing up now around the country. Many dealers may not know about their allocation until just before they show up.
US BUILD BATCH 3
The first batch of European Delivery cars.
US BUILD BATCH 4, 5 (those ordered in July, August and maybe very early September)
The first and second batch of customer ordered cars - no Audi Exclusive colors or features allowed this build. They are built in Ingolstadt and then after 4 to 6 weeks should show up at the customer's local dealership.
This will encompass most (if not all) of the cars that will be available before the year's end.
If you want a Phantom Black/Black S5 (tech package and nav with stainless trim - MSRP of $59,015) now, they are readily available at many (if not most) dealers in major areas (I live in the DC area and there are at least 3 dealerships that have been delivered two Black/Black S5's). If you can't find one - dealer exchange can be done and you should have NO problem getting one. If you don't want Phantom Black and you haven't ordered already - you are into next year.
The district manager said that while dealerships have only had the black/black S5 for at most two weeks - they haven't been flying out of the dealerships. They hope that will change with a round of advertising planned for early next year.
Hope this was helpful (or at least interesting)
10-19-2007, 10:38 PM
Do you happen to know anything more about the Audi Exclusive colors -- as in, are they the special customer requested custom color mixes that they do in Europe? OR, do they mean no special order requests for other standard audi colors? I'm not feeling the standard S5 colors but already have an order in.
10-19-2007, 11:06 PM
10-20-2007, 12:15 AM
IF the lease rates suck and there is no free maintainence any more, then why get the S5 or A5 when a 335xi has free maintainence, better lease rates, is readily available in manual or auto tranny, has a normal E brake(dont know if this is better or not yet though) and AWD is also available.
Where is Audi's edge over the competition? Manual only? Limited availability? A non sliding sunroof? An electric E brake? A cool exhaust note and a line of LEDS in the headlights are not going to win over the average consumer. BTW Benz will also have the line of LEDS on thier next gen CLK and E Class.
Dont get me wrong A5/S5 is on the top of my list of cars that I want and I drool everytime I see one but the average consumer will not go crazy over this car while enthusiasts like most of us will.
Please no flames on this, its just my opinion.
10-20-2007, 06:20 AM
I love Audis. I have owned 3 in the last decade(I currently drive a Boxster S) and I enjoyed everyone. While my 2001 TT could not keep up with my Porsche, it is a much more beautiful car than the Boxster. In my opinion, the new TT is prettier still. I think the R8 is Perfect. The looks of an Aston Martin with the performance of a Porsche Turbo. Great Stuff from Audi.
That said, Audi has absolutely no idea how to market a car.
I remember several years ago when the V6 3.2 was first avaiable on the TT. Finally, a car to compete with the Porsche and BMW. There was only silence from Audi. No marketing campaign. No comparison test drives in the automotive press. Nothing. The TT 3.2 was the best car that nobody knew about.
And now....Here comes the S5. For the very first time Audi beats BMW to market - the M3 is still in Germany. The S5 is DROP DEAD georgeous and a beast to drive. So, where is the marketing campaign? Why isn't there an Audi S5 commercial during every football game? Why isn't every kid in America dreaming about owning an Audi?
I can tell you that the BMW 1 series, which will not be released until the spring, is getting more press than the Audi S5, and creating more excitement. The 300hp 3.5 liter engine in that little car....WOW.
Note to Audi: if you want to play with the big boys, you better step up and create some excitement with your product.
10-20-2007, 06:23 AM
If you sit in the two cars, they're going to feel like they come from two different planets, but without advertising Audi may never get people comparing the two because people will simply be unaware that the S5 exists. The ad campaign that they apparently have planned might help to fix that.
10-20-2007, 06:42 AM
There are two vehicles that I know of at a TX dealership that were extra allocations. One Red/Black and the second (now sold) White/Brown.
10-20-2007, 08:11 AM
Like an out of town preview only it's in town.
10-20-2007, 08:23 AM
10-20-2007, 10:01 AM
I agree that the lack of free maintenance and lease rates will be an obstacle for sales if they want to match BMW sales in numbers? But do they? BMW has come out publicly announcing their ambition to sell what? 2 million cars? I'm no Audi spokesperson, but I haven't seen any rumors about Audi wanting the A5/S5 to sell like the 3-series. Again, I think free maintenance on a 60k car should be free as it was on my S4. But Audi is targeting people who don't care about that. Like us. Free maintenance didn't stop me from ordering the car. It's pretty clear that Audi's is focusing on design as their competitive edge, like all the brands they've partnered with (Bang&Olufsen, Apple). Look at the R8. The S5. Their concept A1. The S5 makes the 3 series look like a Corolla. I have a 3 series.
10-20-2007, 10:10 AM
Audi has been consistently on the rise in sales and profitability. Because Audi is not aggressive in their marketing it does not mean they have no idea how to market a car. Neither you or I know what is discussed in Audi's corporate meeting rooms, so we're ignorant to their strategy. Audi does have a pretty good marketing campaign for all vehicles, maybe you just don't read or see the media channels they advertise on. Also, their products are hot and sell easily, maybe their numbers indicate they don't have to waste money unnecessarily on advertising. Fact is, they've been on the rise and record selling for a while now, so your argument is erroneous.
10-20-2007, 10:46 AM
10-20-2007, 08:06 PM
The S5 just recently started hitting dealerships and not only does the average consumer notknow that they are available, it was news to most of us (that are ahead of the game). When people begin to see it and become aware that it exists - I think it will sell. Well, as long as oil prices don't continue to go throgh the roof or higher. If that happens, fuel efficient cars like the 1 series, A1 and A3 will be more popular than the thirsty V8 and twin-turbo V6 anyway...
10-20-2007, 08:36 PM
10-20-2007, 09:59 PM
10-21-2007, 02:00 AM
What I didn't tell you in my note is that I live in South Florida and I am friends with a gentleman who has been an Audi salesman for years. I was really speaking for him here. He is constantly frustrated at the lack of hype coming from Audi, especially when new product is introduced.
TT sales have been lackluster thus far, and I ask you, have you seen much advertising outside of the automotive press to reach a broader market? I haven't. And it is a beautiful car in every way.
Maybe Audi corporate is happy with the way things are going.
I just don't get it.
10-21-2007, 10:23 AM
I think you're right about lackluster sales for the new TT which really surprises me. I live in northern CA where there are lots of Audi's on the road and I've only seen 1 new TT so far. I owned the original TT and this new one is so much better, in both style and performance. Strange. Although one new TT I saw on the lot was sticker'd at 52K. I'm guessing many people in USA don't see it as a high 40's to 50k car. Perhaps from the perception of the old TT that it was a VW Golf in lingerie.
10-21-2007, 11:58 AM
Let those who are in the know, get one, that's my attitude. Does patek phillipe market it's watches?
10-21-2007, 03:26 PM
I never thought of the old one as a dressed up Golf. I hated the way it looked, but it was a very unique looking vehicle lending itself to love it or hate it feelings. The new one I like the looks of, but to me, it bears a strong resemblance to a Porsche. When they came out, I remember being very surprised by the pricing though. Configuring one, I hit just over $50k, and that seems quite a bit high for that car. It may be irrational based on some of the technology in the car, but that's the way I felt as an Audi fan. I'm not sure what price would make me feel more warm and fuzzy about that car. Maybe it's just too small to ever suit my taste.
10-21-2007, 06:48 PM
They are on the lots, available for sale...
10-21-2007, 06:57 PM
A bit ironic since AoA is in the next state just North of us?!
In addition to what you laid out DaveLew (which was very nice) I was told those dealerships that participated in the Demo program had the opportunity of receiving an additional allocation.
From what I know, no dealer in Ohio participated in the demo program.
Edit: There is one in Cleveland that has a demo.
10-21-2007, 07:04 PM
Hi...my ordered A5 is currently being built. In the system they have it scheduled to arrive state side in December.
Now get this, their Marketing strategy is to hold it until February to allow for more S5 sales, before releasing it to me.
Anybody else come across this and know if Audi will truly hold my car for 2+ months?
10-21-2007, 08:38 PM
spend some monies on creative advertizing. I am gessing they are still gunshy from the late '80s and afraid to tell the USA just how good some of the Audis have become... or they're just dirt cheap, which is my guess.
10-22-2007, 06:18 AM
Has that occured to people, does starbucks advertise? Word of mouth is powerful adverting, not only that I think Audi is going for a more exclusive market, and furthermore they may not be able to meet supply demands, the worst thing you want to do, is create alot of hoopla and then have supply shortages. This isn't tickle me elmo, a car buyer, will just go get something else, and have a sour taste that you couldn't deliver a product.
10-22-2007, 07:00 AM
garage doors in their Audis, with a snicker, or about broken on the side of the road. Audis image is still pretty poor here imo, irregardless of product quality and that should be AoAs focus. I'm on my 5th now and love most things about them(I've lemoned one too) - so much that it has been a real struggle to replace my Stg3 S4 with another Audi(no other brand has or likely will bring all the Audi things I love to the driving experience).
If Audi can't meet S5 demand that would be absolutely great for them. There are now 44 deposits in Charlotte NC on the next M3, deposits, not lookers... thats product demand.
Regarding coffee - Starbucks advertizes everywhere lol. Walk through any airport, mall, office park with one in the area. We have a Starbucks poster ad in the strip mall where I get coffee at a Panera Bread. Unique and different work better than exclusivity. Bentley, Rolls, Ferarri, Bugatti, Maserati all speak exclusivity. Starbucks and Audi are average consumer imo.
10-22-2007, 09:57 AM
It wasn't their advertising initially at all that made their name, they were exclusive in a sense, who else charged $6.00 for a cup of coffee, also, word of mouth was huge for them, that's what made marketing so unique for them, good service, and word of mouth.
I could care less that 44 deposits for M3, your not hearing me, I think Audi is making good cars, because, they aren't BMW, they don't need to cater to 5 million people, and I'm starting to think they aren't trying to be, they are letting the products speak for themselves. And obviously it's been working, judging by their sales.
Furthermore, the average consumer isn't spending 60K on a car, it's not Bentley , nor Ferrari, but the point is that it's not so main stream that it loses it's luster and uniqueness, which in my eyes is what's happening to BMW. Because, they have becoming about as common place as Honda in the U.S. they have to cater to many more people, instead of being innovative, that's why I believe their styling has taken a back seat, because, #1 it was never that impressive, #2 they don't want to deviate to far from what's been working.
As long as Audi doesn't try to be BMW, or try to hae 44 deposits on hold, they will continue be innovative. MB has large following but it's bland and boring, period, because, they don't want to shake up a good model too much.
10-22-2007, 11:22 AM
Product. Say what you want about marketing or word of mouth but you have to lead the public to your products, not the other way around. Audi's LeMans programs for the past 8yrs weren't funded based on word of mouth sales. Look at Youtube, look at the Audi.de site(s), any European journalist site - there is a ton of marketing Audi AG does outside of the US to get their product out. Ever wonder why we/USA Audi enthusiasts don't see more advertising? It exists in great volumes elsewhere in the world. Hell I had to explain to a customer at our local dealership what a S6 was... to him it was a tarted up A6 Sportsline something or another with a ridiculoiusly-high price, completely missed your(and my) exclusive model there.
Its easy to sit back and hope that sales will increase based off trade rags(which btw are paid advertisements in one form or another) and good reviews but to move product and reinvest takes much, much more than word of mouth. Do you not get mad that AoA brings a car over for testing(or maybe Audi AG does this for them even, ugh!) and all we get is a 3pg glossy in a car rag?
Are you missing the M3 point I'm trying to make? Here, in a city of ~600K people, 44 in line with money at the dealer for a car that comes out next Spring I think. New Audi S5(very hot, beautiful Audi, I was one of the 1st on the list to get one) and yet other than us Audi gurus no one knows of its special traits, great driving characteristics or even what it is overall... and they are already available, sitting on lots at this very moment.
10-22-2007, 12:05 PM
I want Audi sell, yeah, sell on, and on, and on, but I don't want it to be anything like BMW. The M3 has been around forever now, it's a legacy, the S5 is new, it's got no legacy. Sure we say quattro coupe, but come now.
The point is, I really don't care that BMW, his neighbor, his brother, his sister, and everyone else buys or even knows about an M3. Part of why I like Audi, is the fact, is it's not known by everyone, that's what makes the S5 that much more special. It would just be a G37 or a 335, if they bombarded you with advertisements every 5 seconds. When I say word of mouth, I'm not saying, you can survive by hoping people tell others, word of mouth marketing, is creating a great product, providing great service, and living up to peoples expectations.
This type of marketing, because it is marketing, isn't haphazard and hope, it's just a different philosophy with a different execution plan. And it might be what Audi has adopted, you think, people aren't going to wonder about the cool car that passed by with the intriguing lights? More importantly they might go do some research and find out what's that car is all about.