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 positioned as one of the three global leaders in luxury autombiles alongside BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Audi forms the core of a stand-alone division within Volkswagen which is also responsible for the Lamborghini brand, Ducati motorcycles and also 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 consumer perception of the brand or 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 stepped down in 2020 to be succeeded by Markus Duesmann. Audi delivered 1.85m vehicles worldwide to customers in 2019, before tumbling the following year to 1.69m. That ranked it as the #12 automobile brand worldwide, though still some distance behind Mercedes and BMW. Traditionally, its top-selling model has been the A4 sedan, but this was overtaken in 2020 by both the Q5 midsize SUV at 278k deliveries and the A6 sedan (274k). The A4 delivered 250k vehicles. China is now the brand's biggest market, accounting for 727.4k units in 2020, or 43% of total vehicles. Germany came a distant second at 214.4k vehicles, followed by the US at 186.6k vehicles. Deliveries for 2021 were 1.68m vehicles. Audi introduced its first all-electric production model during 2018, the e-tron SUV. Revenues for the Audi division within Volkswagen Group (including Lamborghini and Ducati) were €50.0bn. 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 23rd July 2021
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Historical profile information for Audi
Marketer Moves 22nd November 2021: New head of marketing at Audi UK. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Marketer Moves 27th October 2021: New marketing director at Audi Germany. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Daily Update 9th Dec 2019: "Tilted World". German indie agency Philipp und Keuntje proves it can hold its own against the big boys in this superb film for Audi. It's an attention-grabbing concept, executed with considerable style, but more than a little disingenuous. The idea, of course, is that the all-electric Audi puts the world back in balance, just like buying the apples that don't come in plastic wrap. Yeah, right. It might not use fossil fuels - a major plus-point - but of course the car itself is filled to the brim with plastic-based parts and components, and lithium batteries have their own significant carbon footprint. Still, we get the idea.
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.
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