DAYTON, Fla. — A strong SUV lineup with recently redesigned products helped increase Audi Canada’s sales and market share growth in 2018, the brand’s president Giorgio Delucchi told Automotive News Canada.
Audi launched the new Q8 large three-row utility vehicle and redesigned the mid-size Q5 and compact Q3 last year, factors that helped to increase Audi’s total sales to 36,908 vehicles, up 2.5 per cent over 2017. Key competitors saw losses over the same period, including Mercedes-Benz, which saw sales slide 4.8 per cent, and Jaguar, down 5.9 per cent.
“We are very happy with the performance,” Delucchi said, “in a year that has been somewhat challenging.”
Delucchi said that he sees further expansion potential with the upcoming launch of the e-tron battery electric utility vehicle, which he said will diversify Audi’s offerings in the segment and further address the market preference shift away from cars and toward utility vehicles.
“The combination of an SUV with a battery electric vehicle is something that is very special and plays into the same bucket,” he said. “The family of SUVs for Audi is growing in conventional but also in electric vehicles, and with that we are addressing that [change in consumer tastes], which is very pronounced in Canada.”
Delucchi joined Audi Canada in January 2018 after his predecessor, Daniel Weissland, was promoted to president of Volkswagen Canada. Since assuming the role, Delucchi has made no plans for aggressive expansion of the dealer network.
“For the future, it’s continue growing sustainably,” he said. “We have a very strong network with 48 dealers, and 10 of them just opened new buildings and new Audi terminals. It’s a strong commitment. There is good representation of the brand in the market, so we're very confident.”
The term “terminals” refers to the latest angular and open-face Audi dealership design treatment. Three stores using this new layout have opened in Quebec in recent months. Three more opened in Western Canada with the other four being distributed throughout the remainder of the country.
Delucchi spoke to Automotive News Canada at Daytona International Speedway, where Audi Canada announced the launch of its new domestic customer motorsport sales division by providing financial support for – and putting a massive maple leaf onto the side of – an Audi R8 LMS GT3 that raced in the 2019 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.