Competition with closest rivals going up a gear

Audi has made no secret of the fact its planning a global, billion-dollar push to challenge rivals Mercedes and BMW and even poached CEO Markus Duesmann this summer from the board of BMW. UK media spend is up, but market share is down 6.3%. The battle with its German nemesis will really come to a head next year if BMW are successful in their campaign to replace Audi as FC Bayern Munich’s official car partner. It will mean an early shower for a partnership that was supposed to run until 2025. Should this occur, there would obviously be a gap in its portfolio to fill and significant budget freed up. So where might it be looking to invest?

More esports? it’s signed a new three-year esports deal with Fokus Clan FC Ingolstadt 04, two of Germany’s biggest Fifa teams. As part of the deal its logo will be displayed on the team’s apparel and social media.

More winter sports? Audi has agreed a four-season extension to continue as main sponsor of the Freeride World Tour skiing and snowboarding series in October. The deal is seen as a vital part of its strategy to reach a younger audience.

Promoting the electric SUV: Last month it rolled out an all-electric SUV in a bid to cut Tesla's dominance of the luxury EV market, and the new e-tron will be released next spring with a base price of £57,000 with the highest spec vehicles starting at £66,000. This forms part of its plans to sell 800,000 electrified cars and wants every third customer to decide in favour of an e-model by 2025.

Tech credentials: Like many in the sector (e.g. Toyota) Audi wants to be seen as a mobility technology firm rather than just a car manufacturer. The key to any partnership is giving the brand a platform to shout about its technological innovations and ensure it remains front-of-mind when it comes to developing tech more widely. Its recent MLS agreement is a good example of what it looks for, and its uses its next-generation technology to provide statistical analysis of MLS matches through its Audi Player Index. Platforms such as this ensure it is seen as not only a leader in the automotive space, but also more generally when it comes to wider technological innovations. This comes at a time when it now sees tech companies becoming part of its competition, and in our recent conversation with the brand, our contact explained that ‘Google will soon be just as much a competitor as BMW’.

Media Spend Q1-3 2018: £16,120,669

Partnerships: Official Automotive Partner of the MLS, Official car partner of the BAFTAs, Formula E across Europe, Audi Quattro Cup, Esports team Astralis, Official Car Partner of Tottenham Hotspur FC until 2022, FC Bayern Munich since 2002,

Key decision-makers:

Marketing & Digital Director Benjamin Braun - connect

Sponsorship, Events & International Comms Manager Jane Bown - connect

Brand Marketing Manager Laura Brennan - connect

Head of Sports Marketing Thomas Glas - connect