No escape from Audi's Alcatraz

SAN FRANCISCO -- Audi of America had a different kind of dealer reception on Saturday night from which there was no escape.

Dealers were taken on a luxury boat to Alcatraz, also known as the Rock, the historic island prison in San Francisco Bay that housed gangster Al Capone. "We wanted to do something different — it was a bit of a gamble," said Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi of America.

The Alcatraz dinner capped a two-day dealer meeting attended by 400 dealers before make meetings began on Sunday. The message to dealers was how Audi is going to sell 200,000 cars by the end of the decade, said de Nysschen.

Dealers stayed at Treasure Island, an old naval base, and were shown new product coming to the United States including the smaller Q3 crossover and a hybrid version of the Q5.

To illustrate the importance of these targets and growing the brand, Audi brought over the big guns — Audi CEO Rupert Stadler and Peter Schwarzenbauer, board member for sales and marketing. After two days with dealers, the German executives skipped the make meeting and reportedly spent the day touring San Francisco.

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