By cutting the price of the 2012 Audi A6 compared to the outgoing 2011 car, Audi may be able to steal some sales away from rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz. According to Bloomberg, this strategy is set to boost A6 sales and increase Audi’s brand exposure.
In July, the first full month in which the 2012 A6 was on sale, Audi sold 1014 copies of the sedan -- a 64-percent increase compared to 2011 A6 sales in July 2010. The base price of the 2012 A6 is about $3900 less than for the 2011 car. The new A6 also undercuts its key competitors.
The 2012 Audi A6 2.0T starts at $42,175 (including destination), with a 211-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine and front-wheel-drive. The A6 3.0T starts at $50,375 and includes a 310-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine and quattro all-wheel drive. Those numbers undercut the car’s key German competitors. The 2011 BMW 528i sedan starts at $45,425, while the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 sedan is priced from $50,275.
The BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E Class significantly outsold the prior-generation A6. In 2010, BMW recorded 39,488 5 Series sales, and Mercedes recorded 60,922 E-Class sales. Over the same period, Audi sold just 8675 A6s.
In addition to helping increase its share of the U.S. market share, Audi has another goal: increase visibility of the Audi brand as a whole. As people buy the A6, Audi hopes it will act as a sort of informal marketing for pricier models like the A7 and A8.
“People observe what these wealthy and discerning individuals drive. It’s an important part of the brand development,” Audi of American president Johan de Nysschen told Bloomberg.
Audi product planner Anthony Foulk previously told us he sees the A6 as “setting the benchmark in the segment.” Along with the A7 and A8, Polk said the new A6 is intended to drive sales upmarket and into Audi’s larger cars.
Audi spokesman Brad Stertz said that he expects the new A6 and its sibling, the A7, to help Audi increase its market share within the C/D luxury segment. By the end of 2011, Audi's market share in the segment could be double what it was in 2009. But the company doesn't plan aggressive lease prices or heavy incentives to sell the A6. "We're going to be selling it on its own merits," he said.
Moreover, sales of the Audi A6 within the U.S. might be slower than the company wants, as the car has limited availability. The factory that builds the new A6 is working "flat out" to build cars for Europe, the U.S., and the Chinese market.
Sources: Bloomberg, Audi