Competition with rivals old and new set to intensify

Audi has made no secret of the fact its planning a global, billion-dollar marketing 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%. BBH delivered the car maker its highest ever 'profit return on marketing investment' (£2.07 for every £1 invested) to lift premium vehicle sales. The battle with its German nemesis looks set to come to a head next year - especially if BMW succeed in their efforts to replace Audi as FC Bayern Munich’s official car partner with seven years left on the deal.

Digitisation: This week Audi announced plans to invest €14bn (£12.5bn) in electric mobility, digitalisation and autonomous driving over the next five years. Much of this will go into R&D and operational efficiencies, but it’s also planning new digital services such as 'functions on demand'. The company reviewed its US digital and experiential support in August.

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. Marketing investment and strategy will be ploughed into building 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. 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

Agencies: BBH, PHD, We Are Social, AKQA, Venables Bell and Partners,

Key decision-makers:

Marketing and Digital Director Benjamin Braun - connect

Head of Digital Antony Roberts - connect