Audi drives on alone

Audi has a new global identity and UK showrooms as the company distances itself from sister organisation VW and asserts its own identity. The logo and application guidelines are by MetaDesign in Berlin. Dealership interiors are by Marketplace Design.

MetaDesign’s new identity, launched to UK dealers this week, is “more human, has more passion and is not so technical”, says group senior designer Kevin MacKenzie. The marque appears in a lighter red, and the interlinked rings are softer and not so shiny, adds MacKenzie.

It will be applied to livery, signage, advertising, merchandising, event materials and stationery. The group is also working on the VW identity (DW 11 August 1995).

Audi is planning to roll out 150 branded showrooms in the UK, following the opening of two pilots in Wakefield and Cambridge and a third in Stirling at the end of March. “We focused on the dealer network as that is where the customer comes into contact with the brand,” says Audi corporate design manager Tony Cutler.

Formerly, Audi cars were sold in VW dealerships, as it was thought the Audi brand did not have a strong enough profile to be marketed alone, says Marketplace director Bryan Brown.

Marketplace created an architectural style for the flagship sites, with a modular canopy and merchandising display.

Audi sees itself as a retailer adopting a service culture to attract customer loyalty, says Cutler. “The whole car industry is product-focused and that will have to change. Dealerships are so prehistoric, we do not want a wonderful building manned by monkeys.” Personnel training for dealers is in progress to support the stronger branding.

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