Dealers Help To Transform Audi Into a National Brand | Edmunds

Dealers Help To Transform Audi Into a National Brand

HERNDON, Virginia Audi's U.S. dealers are helping to transform the German automaker into a "national brand" in the U.S., according to Audi of America President Scott Keogh.

Audi on Monday reported that its U.S. sales in 2014 increased 15.2 percent from the previous annual record in 2013 to 182,011 vehicles sold. December 2014 sales increased 13.1 percent to 19,238 vehicles.

December 2014 represented the best-ever December sales results in Audi history, as well as the 48th consecutive month of record sales for Audi in the U.S.

"These record-breaking sales results are a direct reflection of the commitment and dedication of our dealer partners," said Keogh. "Their recent investments into the Audi franchise total nearly $1 billion, and alongside the heavy investments in new products and technologies made by Audi AG, the future is bright for Audi in the U.S."

Keogh said in a media conference call that Audi is "moving from being a strong pocket regional brand to now being a national brand."

He added: "We have so many new dealers and all of them are really just getting their feet wet and getting into gear. They will grow and grow."

Audi is expected to have approximately 300 U.S. dealers between now and 2016.

They are "clearly delivering exemplary performance," said Audi of America Chief Operating Officer Mark Del Rosso, during the call. "Together we're building a business that's great for the future."

Audi dealerships are springing up in new areas including Queens, New York; Freehold, New Jersey; San Antonio, Texas; Jacksonville, Florida and Wichita, Kansas.

Del Rosso singled out Ray Catena Audi of Freehold, a dealership owned by Ray Catena.

"(He's) one of the best dealers," Del Rosso said. "He hasn't sold his first (Audi) yet, but in the next 30-60 days will be open for business."

Audi Freehold will boast a 73,000-square-foot facility with a 28-car showroom.

"To say we are excited about Audi Freehold opening is an understatement," Del Rosso said.

Audi's U.S. growth also is exemplified by Fletcher Jones Audi in Chicago, Del Rosso noted. The dealership built a state-of-the-art facility in 2010, but has "already outgrown" it, he said. A new facility is in development, promising greater visibility from downtown Chicago.

Del Rosso ticked off some noteworthy statistics about the growth of Audi dealers recently.

In 2013, just two dealers in Audi's U.S. network sold over 2,000 new vehicles; that number grew to four in 2014. In 2013, 10 Audi dealers sold over 1,500 new vehicles in a year; now that number is 16.

In the eastern U.S., approximately 25 Audi dealers have plans to expand their facilities. In California, recent significant dealership investments have occurred at Audi Concord and Audi Marin.

The growth in Audi's U.S. dealerships coincides with a major product push, including the debut in 2015 of the 2015 Audi A3 e-tron sportback. The redesigned 2016 Audi Q7 SUV is set for an unveiling next week at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Other redesigns are in the works for the Audi A6 and Audi A7.

"We are going to have a staggering product offensive," Keogh said. "When I think of all those dealers and then the second wave of all these products, I have a lot of confidence."

Andrew Lipman, an Audi spokesman, said not all Audi dealers will sell the e-tron, however. A U.S. launch date for the Q7 has not been announced.

Audi dealers are turning into a major source of SUVs for car shoppers. Keogh said Audi's No. 1 seller in the U.S. is the Audi Q5, with sales of the Audi Q3 SUV strengthening. Dealers typically have a 17-day supply of the Q3 on their lots, an impressive number, given the industry average of 55-60 days.

Edmunds says: Audi's U.S. dealership network is expanding, which is good news for car shoppers throughout the country.

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