FRANKFURT - Audi is trying to widen its customer base with the new A2 by attracting a greater percentage of young female buyers.
Women account for only 15 percent of Audi's sales. Marketers predict 35 percent of A2 buyers will be women.
There are three main messages of the consumer marketing campaign, which is scheduled to begin in 2000. These are that the A2 is 'progressive, valuable and responsible,' according to Dietmar Schumacher, head of product marketing for the car.
Rather than a sporty design such as that of the A3, Audi's first high-volume aluminum car has a more progressive and futuristic style to appeal to consumers with more 'intellectual, post-modern values.'
Last June, in an effort to ensure the A2 is differentiated from its other models, Audi appointed Wieden & Kennedy of Amsterdam to handle the A2's estimated $15 million European advertising account, even though it is not one of Audi's main agencies.
One of the hottest smaller agencies in the United States in recent years, Wieden & Ken-nedy's West Coast agency is famous for creating work for trendy clients such as Nike.
Several years ago, Juan Jose Diaz Ruiz, now executive vice president of sales and marketing at Toyota Motor Europe, developed the Audi Agency Network. The network is a group of creative ad agencies based in various locations around the world.
The agencies work together as global partners for Audi. The A2 contract was the first time Audi had moved outside its network since it was set up.
'Wieden & Kennedy gives us a chance to have a more progressive approach,' said Schumacher.
Unlike some other premium car makers who have skimped on interior and exterior finishing, Audi has built a product that reflects the core values of the brand, Schumacher said.
Audi hopes the A2 will appeal to consumers who want a 'responsible' car that is roomy and agile but doesn't consume much fuel. The A2's aluminum body weighs 40 percent less than an equivalent steel body, says Audi.