Posted: 05/08/07 02:27 PM
Despite Audi's presence in the U.S. market since the 1960s, it has little brand recognition, consumer awareness, or purchase consideration beyond the "autoscenti" of Car & Driver subscribers and European ex-pats who well know Audi's reputation for tailored luxury cars and sure-footed all-wheel drive.
But fortunes have been changing for Audi. Sales in the U.S. have climbed from a paltry 14,000 in 1995 to 90,100 last year. This year, the company expects to top 100,000. And the German brand, a unit of Volkswagen, has put together a lineup of luxury and performance cars that for the first time can go head-to-head with BMW, DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota's Lexus
Audi managers are quite sure of the quality of their hardware. And the company, with a feeling that the time to make a move is now or never, is launching a new campaign from its new ad agency with a pretty modest goal. "We have to popularize and energize the brand," says Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer for Audi of America (he joined the company last year following several years at Mercedes-Benz).