Even as competition was heating up in the entry-level hatchback luxury segment, Audi India stuck to its firm belief that Indian customers were value sensitive and not price sensitive and launched the Audi A3. The sedan was first revealed to the Indian market at the Auto Expo 2014 (February) and then launched in August the same year. The USP: It was the only sedan version in the compact luxury segment which was led by hatchbacks.
"The Audi A3 is the only sedan in the segment competing against Mercedes Benz's A Class, BMW's 1 Series and Volvo's V40. All are hatchbacks, and for a similar pricing Audi offers a sedan. In the consumer's minds a sedan is always an upgrade over a hatchback. People buying the A Class and the V40 do so purely because of personal choice, they are inclined either towards the brand or towards the driving performance. The A3 offers a good mix of both without compromising on boot space," says Kaushik Madhavan, head, automotive and transportation practice, Frost & Sullivan.
The creative positioning of the Audi variant was also unique - The Next Big Audi. The idea was to highlight that even if it was a compact luxury sedan, it was 'big' on features and true to the Audi experience. For the target group, the brand focused on young achievers and enthusiasts who have made it 'big' in life and wanted to make a statement about their achievements. To that end the car boasted of a robust exterior, aerodynamic frame, panoramic sunroof and an auto retractable multimedia interface.
The company unveiled its launch campaign in different stages. To set the tone for entry and create pre-unveil buzz, it first reached out to customers through select international media influencers - the Audi A3 international driving experience, Hungary, 2013, and the international driving experience, Munich, 2013. It then seeded "The Next Big Audi" tagline in the media through pre-Auto Expo stories to create excitement about the sedan.
Apart from large format print advertisements in national dailies and hoardings, the brand was also heavy on digital initiatives - online banners and search engine marketing resulted in 2,040 leads for A3, another 3,636 leads were collected through digital and ATL activation.
Led by a successful launch of the A3, the German luxury car manufacturer closed 2014 on a record high by notching up impressive sales of 10,851 units.