Audi is the #2 brand by sales in the portfolio of European car manufacturer Volkswagen. Reinvented with a sharper premium image in 2002, it had become the group's most profitable business by the end of that decade and is still one of the main vehicles for continuing organic growth within Volkswagen. With a long-established reputation for stylish design and technological development, the brand is now being positioned as the main challenger to BMW's crown in the luxury and corporate markets. Audi forms the core of a stand-alone division within Volkswagen which is also responsible for the Lamborghini brand as well as sales and distribution of all Volkswagen Group vehicles in Italy. Like its sister brand VW, Audi has a global reputation for striking and innovative advertising. However, that reputation, like that of VW itself, took a hammer blow in 2015 following the "Dieselgate" scandal, in which the group admitted deliberately cheating emissions tests, mainly on VW and Audi vehicles. The costs of resolving that problem have been significant; but they don't appear to have had any lasting impact on sales. However, the prolonged subsequent investigation led to the shock arrest of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler in summer 2018 in connection with the case. He was later released, but not before being replaced by Bram Schot, previously board member for sales & marketing. He too will step down in 2020 to be succeeded by Markus Duesmann. Audi had 1.84m vehicle registrations worldwide in 2018, ranking it as the #13 automobile brand. However that figure was down slightly on the year before, and still some way behind rivals Mercedes and BMW. Top-selling model was the A4 sedan at 322k registrations, followed by the Q5 SUV at 294k registrations. It introduced its first all-electric production model during the year, the e-tron SUV. Revenues for the Audi division within Volkswagen Group (including Lamborghini and Ducati) were €59.2bn. Audi is a keen sponsor of sporting events in Germany, especially football. It is a lead sponsor of two leading teams based in Munich, FC Bayern Munich and BSC Hertha Munic, and has exclusive advertising positions in both teams' stadiums as well as various other promotional tie-ups.
Capsule checked 31st October 2019
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Historical profile information for Audi
Adbrands Daily Update 18th Nov 2019: In another overhaul of Audi's senior management team, current CEO Bram Schot will step down in March 2020, to be replaced by former BMW purchasing director Markus Duesmann. Schot - previously Audi's sales & marketing chief - was installed in the top job in 2018 following the arrest of Audi's CEO Rupert Stadler in connection with the Volkswagen diesel cheating scandal. "Bram Schot took over the management of AUDI AG at a difficult time, very successfully managed the business and initiated important changes. For this he has our sincere thanks," said Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess. Rather than revert to his former role, Schot has opted to leave the group altogether.
Adbrands Daily Update 12th Apr 2019: One of BBH London's oldest, biggest and most creatively feted clients has put its account into review. Audi's centralised procurement team has called the pitch under instructions from new CEO Bram Schot to drive greater efficiency within the business. BBH is defending the account, which it has held since 1982.
Adbrands Social Media 11th Mar 2019: "A Pleasure To Follow". BBH London's latest for Audi is cute but it feels - to this pair of eyes anyway - forced. The agency's best work for this long-time client has often been based on an unlikely conceit, but has had sufficient humour or style to encourage the necessary suspension of belief. Here though it just seems silly. The new Audi Sport R8 is so gorgeous that all the other vehicles in town - even a bridal wedding party - are fighting with one another just to drive behind it. Really? Was that the pitch? Nah, I don't buy it.
Adbrands Social Media 1st Feb 2019: "Cashew". Audi's Super Bowl spot is another in a long line of little masterpieces from longtime partner Venables Bell. From what we've seen so far it gets our vote for best auto ad of the Big Game. So why is it called "Cashew"? Well, don't be too fooled by the beatific opening scenes; there's a twist coming, and it's a gem.
Adbrands Daily Update 8th Jan 2019: The internecine warfare between Germany's three luxury carmakers continues. Former BMW marketing chief Hildegard Wortmann was confirmed as the new head of sales & marketing at rival Audi. It is the second senior BMW marketer to have been poached by Audi in recent weeks. Sven Schuwirth - a former Audi marketer who joined BMW at the start of 2018 - will return to the fold after only five months at the Munich company in February.
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