Audi, with more than 20 years of development experience in China, was the first global premium car brand to realize domestic production in China. The establishment of the FAW-VW Audi Sales Division in Changchun in January 2006 marked the start of a new phase for Audi. Building on the foundation of past successes, Audi has been integrating the respective advantages and expert business skills of the Sino-German partnership to maximize the utilization of available resources, better satisfy the multi-faceted personalization requirements of consumers, and promote the long-term, sustainable and healthy development of the Audi brand and its dealer network, in order to reinforce Audi's leading position in the Chinese auto market.
In the 2006 Chinese automobile sales satisfaction index (SSI) survey report released by internationally authoritative survey organization J.D. Power, Audi ranked first among the 31 renowned brands for the third year in a row thanks to its excellent delivery service, sales personnel, dealer facilities, transaction process, delivery time and paperwork processing. This honor fully illustrates Audi's extraordinary strength in its sales network and service level and helps to publicize the "customer satisfaction-centric" business concept of FAW-VW Audi Sales Division.
During the 20 years of development in China, Audi has been adhering to its "Vorsprung durch Technik" philosophy and following through with its "One name, One standard, Everywhere" commitment to deliver its prestigious, dynamic and progressive brand connotation. This was also 20 years of harmonious cooperation, dedication and unceasing breakthroughs for Audi and its Chinese partner, who together have jointly articulated China's most mature premium sedan manufacturing base.
As the absolute frontrunner in the premium sedan market in China, the path of Audi's development can be traced back to 1986.
In 1986, Audi AG made an initial official contact with China and together with FAW, began a joint feasibility study of certain technology in Changchun. Over the following two years, technical development for Audi cars continued in Changchun and in 1988, FAW was granted a manufacturing license by Audi. In the same year, a total of 499 Audi cars were assembled in Changchun.
In 1990, FAW installed assembly lines for Audi cars with a daily capacity of 50 units. In 1993, Audi joined the joint venture of FAW-VW. In 1995, FAW-VW began to prepare for the production of the Audi 200 V6 - a model developed only for China. In the following year, the Audi 200 V6 came off the production line.
In 1996, Audi established an after-sales service division in Beijing. Audi technicians were located in the No. 1 service station of FAW, providing training for the Chinese employees as well as technical support. In the same year, Audi established an expert team composed of professionals in automobile sales, marketing development, public relations and after-sales service, to improve the market development of Audi in China.
In 1999, the Audi A6, produced jointly by Audi and its partner, FAW Group, came off the production line at FAW-VW, Changchun. The Audi A6 made up for the absence of premium cars produced in China. In the same year, Audi sold 6,911 units in China.
In 2000, the first Audi standard dealer's show room was open in Beijing, through which Audi introduced the world standard sales and service system into China. In the same year, Audi's sales in China increased one and a half times compared to the previous year, reaching 17,451 units.
In 2001, the Audi A8 was officially launched in China. This symbolized the landing in China of Audi's flagship vehicle. Then, the new Audi A4 model and the Audi TT sports car were also launched in China, introducing more personalized choices for Chinese customers. In the same year, Audi introduced some world standard components and accessories including xenon headlights, parking heaters and electric seats, which were fitted in the updated Audi A6 model in 2001. Audi's sales in China increased to 27,890 units in 2001.
In 2002, Audi fitted the Audi A6 with its proprietary multitronic technology. The new Audi A6, with 23 updated parts, was launched. The two updates of Audi that were in line with the international updates maintained for Audi, the leading position in the premium car market in China. In the same year, Audi's 4WD vehicle was launched in China; this true 4WD for the use of both on-road and off-road further consolidated Audi's competitive strength in China. Audi's sales in China reached 36,492 units that year.
In 2003, the Audi A4, as the top range product of the world premium brands B-class vehicles, was put into production in China, a symbol of Audi's extensive production expansion in China. In July that year, the new Audi A8, which set a new standard in world premium cars, was also launched in China. In October 2003, the launches of both the executive model and sports model of the Audi A6 again proved the success of Audi in China. In the same year, the sales of automobiles in China increased by 69.6% as a whole, reaching 2.27 million units; the total sales of Audi vehicles reached 63,531 units, an increase of 71.5%.
In April 2004, Audi launched the new Audi A4 model which offered not only more color choices, but also more personalized accessories including an entertainment package, sports package, winter package and genuine leather package etc. The new Audi A4 model became the ideal choice for the elites who pursue a high quality and individual life. In May the same year, the Audi A8L 6.0 quattro 4WD, the high-class flagship product of Audi, was launched in China. This model is the premium car with the most advanced technology and best performance in the global market. Its launch further strengthened Audi's leading position in the Chinese premium car market. China is currently the fourth largest market for the Audi A8. In August 2004, the China-made Audi A6 2.5 TDI diesel was officially launched. Under the trend of a general slide in the Chinese automobile market in that year, Audi's annual sales increased by 0.8%, reaching 64,018 units (among them, 46,177 units of the China-made Audi A6 and 15,841 units of the China-made Audi A4.)
In April 2005, the new China-made Audi A6L was launched. As currently the most luxurious and advanced sedan which best suits the Chinese situation, the new Audi A6L carried with it the Audi quality: prestigious design, excellent sporty characteristics, spacious interior and an outstanding safety system greatly improving the driving experience in terms of convenience, dynamics and comfort to an unprecedented level. In October, the launch of the new Audi A4 further consolidated and completed the Audi product series in China. Despite the fierce market competition, Audi achieved excellent sales results in China that year. Sales reached 58,878 units (according to AAK statistic method, i.e., the sales of vehicles to the end users), an increase of 9.6%. China became the third biggest market for Audi outside of Germany.
In July 2006, the Audi Q7, combining many Audi proprietary advanced technologies and world-class SUV technology, was officially launched in China. As Audi's first SUV, developed over three years, the Audi Q7 was positioned as the top range product in the SUVs market, setting a new benchmark in terms of design concept, technology, general performance and functions for all SUVs within this range. The introduction of the Audi Q7 allowed Chinese customers to experience combined characteristics of sports, comfort, off-road performance, multi-functions and luxury. The Audi Q7 perfectly demonstrates the Audi concept "Vorsprung durch Technik" and the brand values "premium, dynamic and progressive". It will bring SUV fans among Chinese customers' brand new choices and exciting driving experiences.
While providing Chinese customers with globally-synchronized advanced products and services, Audi also actively participates in a series of premium sporting and cultural activities to allow customers to personally experience the Audi brand.
In June 2001, the Audi A8 sponsored the three tenors' concert in Beijing that attracted the attention of the world. In April 2002, Audi provided the Boao Economic Forum for Asia with a fleet of Audi A6 VIP cars. In April 2003, Audi sponsored the debut of the musical of the century - Cats - in Shanghai, and Real Madrid's China tour. In 2005, Audi sponsored trips to China by the Real Madrid and the Manchester United Football Clubs.
In 2004, Audi sponsored the Beijing International Marathon, held the Audi quattro Cup Golf Championship, participated in the exhibition race of the DTM German sedan grand prix in Shanghai and showcased the RSQ model, a concept sports car loaded with futuristic elements. Audi was chosen as the designated premium vehicle of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. These events allow the Chinese customers to fully experience the essence of the prestigious, dynamic and progressive Audi brand values.
In February 2005, Audi chose representatives with outstanding achievements from the business, culture, sports and entertainment sectors as honorary members of "Audi Premium Club" to depict and promote the philosophy and lifestyle Audi advocates. Renowned conductor Yu Long and world-famous youthful pianist Lang Lang were awarded the "Culture Ambassador" and "Music Ambassador" titles respectively. Later, prominent female entrepreneur and famous Chinese personality, Jin Yuxi, was awarded the "Fashion Ambassador" title as the third member of the "Audi Premium Club".
In December 2005, Audi and the United Nations Children's Fund signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the Audi "Driving Dreams" initiative from which 150 fully functional "learning centers" will be completed within five years, beginning in January 2006, to provide out-of-school youths and children in China's poorer western provinces with a series of production, sports and life-skill training activities to help them develop their skills and improve their living environment to fulfill their dreams. The 150 "learning centers" are distributed throughout 32 counties of the ten western provinces. It was estimated that almost 30,000 children will directly benefit from the project. Indirectly, 100,000 children and family members will benefit from the project. This is the first time the United Nations Children's Funds has cooperated with an auto enterprise in China and also the first time with an Olympics sponsor.
The unique lifestyle the Audi brand represents was also interpreted in a further series of events, such as the sponsoring of the Shanghai International Fashion Week, Beijing International Music Festival and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Audi has continued to develop new platforms, such as the Audi Driving Experience, Audi Forum Beijing and Shanghai Audi Media Center, to let consumers experience the special charm of the Audi brand.
Moving forward, Audi will continue to cooperate with and leverage FAW-VW as the only mature premium-car manufacturing base in China, to contribute towards the long-term development of the Chinese auto industry. Future investments include introducing more models, upgrading manufacturing facilities, expanding marketing activities to intensify the construction of the globally-unified sales network and sustaining Audi's leadership in the premium-car market. At present, Audi's dealer network in China spans 87 cities and encompasses 123 dealers. It is currently the premium sedan service network with the largest scale, the widest coverage and the highest service level in China. It is without doubt that it possesses outstanding advantages over and above the service networks of all international premium class sedan brands.