Audi of America has launched this month a software package for Apple iPad tablets -- Sales Assist – that allows shoppers to compare Audi models with rival models, configure an Audi vehicle or take a look at the available models in a dealer's inventory.
Audi offered subsidized iPads to dealers in late 2013 and initially delivered 2,000 of them in early January. Each iPad features the Audi logo etched on the back. Audi has already received orders from 220 dealerships in the US, representing around 80 percent of its network in the country, according to Mark Ramsey, general manager of digital retail operations at Audi of America.
Audi of America will deliver 1,000 to 2,000 more iPads in coming months. "When you look at Millennial and Gen X consumers, they have a much more open shopping experience," Loren Angelo, director of marketing, told Automotive News in an interview at the Detroit auto show.
He noted that when Millenial and Gen X consumers get the opportunity to use a new-media tablet-type solution in the shopping experience, “it makes them much more comfortable." Audi’s software package also includes negotiation and finance tools that allow the quick completion of digital forms. Audi, however, is not the first brand to use tablets in the sales process since the iPad was launched in 2010.
Ford Motor Co. launched its Showcase sales app in 2012 while General Motors released its Dealer SalesAssistant app in 2013. Josh Weeks, an Audi dealer in Danbury, Conn., told Automotive News that he planned to deploy Audi's sales app in late January. He said that he usually sees a salesperson run to a computer to get an answer to a customer's question, and by the time he returns, the customer has already pulled out a smartphone and has found the answer.