Pres­tige on the cheap

Up­mar­ket Audi is out to snare young buy­ers

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

AFINANCE deal that cov­ers all run­ning costs ex­cept fuel for the first three years of the car’s life is cen­tral to Audi’s bold play to at­tract younger buy­ers to its new en­try-level hatch­back, the A1.

Priced from $29,900 and cost­ing $169 a week, the A1 is Audi’s first foray into what has tra­di­tion­ally been a price point re­served for top­spec mod­els of Ja­panese hatches such as the Mazda3 and Toy­ota Corolla.

The move is part of Audi’s strat­egy to snare en­try-level pres­tige buy­ers be­fore they can af­ford one of its ri­vals’ ve­hi­cles — the Mini Cooper is $33,850, Mercedes-Benz B-Class starts at $37,500, BMW’s 1 Se­ries 118i is $41,000 and the en­try level Lexus IS250 is $55,900.

The com­pany is con­fi­dent the ‘‘Audi own­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence’’ will be pos­i­tive enough to keep A1 own­ers mov­ing through the ranks of Audi prod­ucts as their fam­i­lies — and in­come — ex­pands.

‘‘The A1 gives us the pos­si­bil­ity to get new cus­tomers and then have an op­por­tu­nity to keep them,’’ Audi Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Uwe Ha­gen says.

Audi’s re­search has shown younger buy­ers and ‘‘ur­ban pro­fes­sion­als’’ want an all-in­clu­sive price and the $169 con­tract for the 1.4-litre man­ual A1 runs for three years and cov­ers sched­uled ser­vic­ing and tyre and rim in­surance for the life of the deal, along with the first year’s com­pre­hen­sive in­surance.

‘‘The only thing we don’t cover is the petrol,’’ Ha­gen says of the fi­nance deal. ‘‘This fi­nance pack­age is a way for our cus­tomers to be as­sured they won’t face any ad­di­tional costs to op­er­ate their ve­hi­cle.’’

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