Few automobile-producing nations understand the combination of substance and style better than the Germans. Let’s face it--they have VW, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and if you close one eye and have consumed 10 beers, Opel too. Germans know how to make not only a nice car, but a fast, safe, powerful and economical one too. With good handling. In short they make cars you aspire to, if a little over-priced for simple folk. And they advertise these machines really well too.
But for my bratwurst, one car manufacturer stands out among all the Teutonic terrors who produce--and market--rolling machinery that is a sweet balance of art and engineering: Audi. Powered by the evil genius of Ferdinand Piech, Martin Winterkorn and Rupert Stadler, this is a juggernaut that could dethrone BMW.
Two recent Audi productions stand out for me, and they don’t have much to do with each other, apart from reinforcing the Audi maxim “Vorsprung durch Technik” (very poorly translated: Winning with technology). One is a car, the other is a calendar.
Let’s get to the meat first. The Audi A7 Sportback officially is a poster car. It looks awesome and carries all the Audi design traits to the next level, inside and out, and it has the superb interior to back up the exterior looks. I think it’s even better looking than the Mercedes-Benz CLS, a car that deserves a spot in a museum. And make no mistake about it--these cars are expensive fashion pieces that happen to have great performance. And the Audi to me is the best of the bunch.
If I do have to level a criticism, it’s that the interior, while gorgeous, seems unoriginal. The low sitting climate controls? See the previous generation VW Passat. The dash canting toward the driver? It’s BMW in general architecture. And that ridge that wraps around the top of the dash? Hello Jaguar XJ. Audi, you’re awesome, but time to pull ahead. Check out the YouTube show below and see if you agree.
Also check out Audi.tv to see great marketing in action. It’s as slick as the car itself. Go to http://tv.audi.com/#/01 and then click on the Audi A7 Sportback link and watch the premier. Audi does a first class job of revealing the car on the web and making the web an experience, which further hooks you into the car. Great job of connecting the two.
Yet it’s number two on my list that really blew me away. Go to this URL: http://adsoftheworld.com/media/dm/audi_augmented_reality_calendar. Every car company sells a car calendar. Audi takes this not one but two notches higher. Augmented reality is not new, other manufacturers have used it, most notably Toyota. However, Audi’s application of it for the calendar is unique in my view. It makes you appreciate Audi’s efforts at wowing its customers and elevating and reinforcing the Audi maxim “Vorsprung durch Technik.” They really care about the details. Nice to see.
Audi, if you keep this up, you may yet sell a few million expensive cars.