WORD FROM HOME
Just URBANE|June - July 2021
Head of Audi India, Mr Balbir Singh Dhillon delineates Audi's current momentum, business plan, customer approach and much more...
MR. ABHISHEK KULKARNI

How is the lockdown treating you?

Firstly, thank you for inviting me on your show and to all the viewers, I hope all of you are healthy. For me, the lockdown has been very hard. Many friends and family have suffered. But we’re coming out of it. The last couple of months has been stressful when it comes to working but I think this is the time we use to reflect, time to also refine our strategies for coming times because no matter what, the business can’t wait. So we have to refine and move on.

The first wave of covid-19 has changed a lot of dynamics when it comes to business. Has it changed any sort of business strategies as far as Audi-India is concerned?

One of the things that definitely took a change was digitalization. We feel there is a lot of emphases required on digitalization. For us, this has been a journey for many years even before the pandemic happened. But yes, the pandemic did make it more difficult. So we’ve done a lot of digitalization on AR, VR, Prebuying experience, buying experience, post buying experience, through websites, and through myAudi app where we have 10000 connected customers. In the future, personalization within digitalization also becomes a much more focused area.

Audi India has been a brand that is well known for its pre-plans and I’m sure it had its plans before the pandemic. So apart from digitalization, have your future plans been affected to a very large extent?

Short-term planning’s mostly the byproduct of all the long-term planning we’ve done. So, we had devised the ‘Strategy 2025’ that we’re working on, and by and large we’ve kept the strategy the same. We had to make some small changes for a couple of months but by and large, most of the focus that we had was on our four pillars of strength are Customer Centricity, Network, Digitalization, and Products. All of this remains intact.

In the luxury segment, when something like a pandemic hits us, the first thing that a person thinks or thinks twice before buying something luxury. Do you think this has changed the mind of the consumer as far as Audi cars are concerned?

The way we approach our customers has definitely changed. I can give you some examples. Let’s say traffic on our website has gone up to 44% to 45%, while the number of people who go to our website and configured the cars, has gone up 75%. 20% of our inquiry generation is happening through digital channels. But obviously, they ended up eventually in our showrooms. This is where we get the closures then. So this has definitely changed. When you talk of the price points in the luxury space, no, that hasn’t changed. By large that has remained constant. What happens is, over the past couple of years, because of multiple reasons such as frequency and the foreign exchange rates, the input costs or cost of cards have gone up in the last three to four years. So obviously we try to find new ways to engage with our customers, whether it is various flexible finance programs or through an Audi-approved program, which is our preowned cars program.

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