In the next few months, Audi AG will release two limited edition models to boost its exclusivity and to raise its competitiveness against BMW AG in the luxury market. Sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer said that in Russia next month, Audi will debut a Q7 sport-utility vehicle with a two-tone exterior. This vehicle has a price tag of 200,000 euros ($285,000).
This June, Audi will also start to sell the R8 V10 Pure Sport in the United Arab Emirates. This vehicle costs 500,000 dirhams ($136,000). In an interview, Schwarzenbauer said that Audi aims to tailor cars to their particular markets and that the company expects much from the limited special editions. In fact, Audi is overhauling its high-performance Quattro unit so that it’s able to build a larger number of exclusive models as well as made-to-order vehicles.
Typically, these vehicles have higher profit margins. The Quattro unit, which is named after Audi's four-wheel drive technology, is overseeing Audi’s efforts to sell products that carry its name and logo. Schwarzenbauer revealed that Audi has set a target to double its share of customized vehicles and reach 20% of global sales by 2015 as part of its bigger plan to beat BMW and take its place as the largest luxury-car maker. Audi is currently contemplating making special editions available to the U.K. and U.S. too. Kevin Tynan, an automotive analyst at Bloomberg Industries, said that with these halo cars, the brand is able to show new designs and engineering.
Tynan explained that the goal is to attract traffic to the dealerships. Last year in China, Audi was able to sell 450 of the Black-and-White edition TT sports car, which are each priced at 54,000 euros. Schwarzenbauer said that its success in China convinced Audi about the business potential of limited editions. BMW spokesman Stefan Behr said that for many years, the company has been releasing country-specific editions in order to fuel sales in specific markets.
Behr cited examples in 2010, including the 7- Series Expo Shanghai edition, the M3 Tiger Edition for China, and the 7-Series 40th Anniversary model created for Oman. Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch-Gladbach, Germany, said that special editions get the attention of customers who have never considered the brand.
The Q7 V12 for Russia will be limited to 555 cars, which will have a two-tone Phantom Black and Black Velvet exterior. This marks the first time that this SUV gets a two-color exterior. Its price is double that of the regular vehicle in Russia. Audi will only build 40 units of the R8 V10 Pure Sport car. Spokeswoman Esther Bahne said that Audi is considering making a limited edition of the R8, which is built by the Quattro unit in Neckarsulm, Germany, for the U.K. market.