Audi revs up mobile offerings with platform-agnostic site, iPad apps

Audi’s mobile site

German automaker Audi is increasing its visibility on mobile devices with the development of new mobile applications for its vehicles as well as an optimized site.

The Audi A6, A7 and A8 iPad apps are available for download in Apple’s App Store, while the new mobile site showcases dealer location and directions, vehicle features and detailed content on new models. The offerings will be highlighted through banner ads on mobile sites and apps.

“Mobile usage is rising at every point of the purchasing process, and Audi recognizes this demand for immediate information from consumers,” said Brad Stertz, manager of corporate communications at Audi of Amercia, Herndon, VA. “Audi’s mobile strategy continues to evolve and align with the most progressive approach to providing content for our customers where and when they need it.

“Audi’s in-car MMI system is a great example of how technology can work as an integral part of the Audi experience, providing advanced capabilities to our customers when and where they need it,” he said. “Our mobile strategy is an extension of this philosophy beyond the reach of our in-car systems.”

Driving mobile traffic

Audi’s use of both the site and apps ensures that consumers on all devices will be able to access some content, with Apple users benefitting from model-specific apps.

The strategy began with the relaunch of http://m.audiusa.com, powered by the latest HTML5 technology optimized for all mobile devices, including Android, iPhone, Windows and BlackBerry.

Audi’s mobile site

Consumers will be able to click-through interactive banner and iAds from prominent mobile sites and apps such as the New York Times, which is where many luxury brands tend to advertise.

On the site, users will be able to interact with features on new models, comparison data and locate nearby dealers to schedule test drives.

Furthermore, the mobile site will make it easier for Audi customers to access information from Audi Financial Services about lease payments and scheduling maintenance visits.

In a move to further increase Audi’s iPhone and iPad user loyalty, the automaker has developed a multitude of vehicle-specific mobile apps.

Screen grab from the Audi A8 Experience app

This is similar to the tactic that rival German automaker Mercedes-Benz takes (see story).

“The Audi A6, A7 and A8 each present a unique set of features and capabilities for our customers,” Mr. Stertz said. “The app-per-model approach is a way for us to encapsulate the information in a focused manner for our customers without confusion or distraction.

“As our line-up of vehicles evolves, so will our method of communicating to our customers,” he said.

In addition to pushing an app for its highly-marketed A6 line (see story), the brand has also developed apps for its A7 and A8 vehicles.

The apps will allow users to hone in on specific features of the models, explore them in an interactive environment and easily find rich content, images and videos.

The brand will emphasize the new apps at auto shows and most likely in its dealerships.

Auto mobile
The main point of the mobile offerings is to reach new mobile consumers at every point of the purchasing process, according to Audi.

Approximately 41 percent of U.S. Internet users shop for autos on their mobile devices and 92 percent of Audi buyers visit AudiUSA.com before buying a vehicle, which is the reason behind the more sophisticated and interactive approach to mobile, according to the automaker.

Furthermore, approximately 44 percent of potential car buyers with smartphones will use them to compare prices right on a dealer lot, and nearly 70 percent of Audi buyers had recently used major social media channels.

Enabling a platform-agnostic channel for consumers to compare prices could help to build Audi affinity since it will likely help to make the buying process efficient and hassle-free.

Over the next two years, Audi intends to spend nearly $2 billion annually on new products and technology, per the brand.

“Audi believes in bringing content and functionality together in-context and with as rich of an experience as is possible,” Mr. Stertz said. “Sites are accessible without any requirements to download and install anything, and yet they do not provide the same advanced capabilities as our apps do.

“Audi has always considered the use of technology with careful attention to context, safety and appropriate level of interactivity,” he said. “We see two distinct opportunities for our customers within apps and sites and believe that each of these platforms are part of a cohesive suite of digital channels, working within context for our customers.”

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