Audi reaches out to users of hand-held devices

CHANTILLY, Va. — Audi of America Inc. wants its youngest buyers to have details about its redesigned 2002 A4 sedan in the palm of their hands.

As part of the A4 launch, Audi is promoting the A4 to subscribers to AvantGo, a personalized news and information service for users of hand-held personal digital assistants.

Audi bought 6 million impressions from AvantGo. That means an A4 banner will pop up on AvantGo 6 million times in two months. AvantGo subscribers get personalized news, weather, sports, stock quotes and other information downloaded from a personal computer or laptop into their device.

When an AvantGo subscriber taps the Audi banner, a picture and information about the A4 is provided.

Subscriber options

The subscriber also will receive an e-mail message from Audi offering three possible actions. It will either send the user to the Audi Web site at audiusa.com for more information on the A4, find an Audi dealer on the Web site or allow the user to build an Audi with a configurator on the site.

The e-mail message from Audi cannot be sent until after the digital assistant’s owner connects it to a personal computer or laptop to update AvantGo.

“So we kind of started a dialogue with this consumer in a wireless mode,” said Mary Ann Wilson, Audi’s national advertising manager.

Audi’s youngest buyers in the United States have been A4 1.8T customers. The median age is 34.

“We want to find new ways to communicate our message,” Walter Hanek, marketing director at Audi of America, said at the press launch of the car here.

“Young people are using Palm Pilots, so this is one method of delivering our message.”

The A4 is the automaker’s top-selling model in the United States.

The entry A4 model has a suggested retail price of $25,475, including a $575 destination charge. The median income of its buyers is $80,000.

Redesigned Web site

For customers who want to use the Internet from a personal computer rather than from a handheld one, Audi has redesigned its Web site.

Hanek said 81 percent of Audi’s customers first went to the Web site before buying at a dealership.

“What we wanted to achieve is more information that is easier to get to,” Hanek said. “The idea was — in three clicks — to navigate to the information you really want.”

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