Audi of America Inc. is touting the merits of its certified used TT sports cars with a promotion it calls a "real road tour."
Twelve relay drivers will drive a modified certified used 2003 turbocharged Audi TT coupe and a new 2004 TT Roadster across the United States starting next month. The three-month tour will visit 15 states and 26 cities.
Audi says team members will offer rides to local celebrities, reporters and political candidates to publicize the event. The road tour starts Sept. 18 in Alexandria, Va. It is scheduled to end in Atlanta about 12 weeks later.
Audi spokesman Doug Clark says the company's certified used-vehicle program puts the TT within the financial reach of people who can't afford a new one.
Audi is seeing appreciable numbers of 3- and 4-year-old TTs coming off lease and into the used-car market, Clark says. About 35 percent of new Audi TTs are sold through leases.
Audi introduced the TT coupe for the 2000 model year and the TT Roadster as a 2001 model. The coupe's current base sticker price is $33,970, and the Roadster is priced at $35,970. Both prices include destination charges.
According to Kelley Blue Book, a noncertified 2001 TT coupe in good condition, with 51,000 miles and a manual transmission, would retail for about $18,950 in the Midwest. A certified vehicle generally costs more than a noncertified one because it has been reconditioned and comes with a factory warranty.
From January through July, Audi sold 3,491 new TTs and 1,883 certified used TTs.
The Audi tour will enlist TT fans to spread the word about new and certified used Audi TTs, Clark says. The tour will stop at such places as shopping malls, trendy nightclubs and restaurants and Audi dealerships. The dealerships will set up courses where customers can drive the tour cars.
Audi selected the relay drivers from about 400 applicants. Many belong to enthusiast groups such as the Audi Club of North America, which has more than 10,000 members.
Other applicants heard about the program and contacted Audi. The driving team includes an engineer, a manager of an aerospace company, the owner of a food services company and the winner of a state beauty pageant, Clark says.
The team is headed by racecar driver Randy Pobst, champion of the SPEED World Challenge GT Series. Pobst will train the tour drivers for a day at Panoz Driving School in Atlanta. Audi will pay the drivers' living expenses on their legs of the tour.