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Biturbo blitz: Audi is expecting the new A6 biturbo model to attract plenty of interest.

Audi nominates the "Evolution" A6 as its big opportunity for 2002

7 Feb 2002

AUDI Australia is determined to make the A6 a serious contender in the mid-size luxury market, planning a more aggressive marketing pitch for the facelifted version launched this month.

Company boss Graham Hardy has nominated the "Evolution" A6 as the company's "big opportunity" for 2002.

Along with a more overt publicity and communications campaign, Audi is also planning a boosted customer relations program centred around the A6.

Always rated as a styling success, the A6 has not garnered a significant following in Australia since its launch in late 1997.

In 2000, 281 were sold, that figure dropping by two in 2001 - Audi's record sales year in Australia when 3507 cars were sold.

Mr Hardy has nominated 360 sales in 2002 as the target.

So seriously is Audi taking the task of boosting the A6's profile and performance, it delayed the launch of the car from last November/December to February.

"December is generally not the ideal month to launch a car," Mr Hardy said.

"We thought let's hold it over, conserve our resources ... and carry them over and add them to 2002's resources and engage the market when people are back in business and we can have an uninterrupted launch."The "evolved" A6 range will include an uprated 2.4-litre V6 base model, 3.0-litre versions including a Multitronic, a new 2.7-litre biturbo derivative, plus the existing 4.2-litre V8 quattro and ball-bursting S6.

Mr Hardy admitted there would be price rises, but they would be accounted for by specification increases.

The base model 2.4 would hold at around $80,000 he said.

"I think our big opportunity is the A6 Evolution," Mr Hardy said.

"We plan to be a lot more overt in terms of the presentation of the vehicle and the positioning in terms of its status as an extremely competitive prestige model."This positioning will include more aggressive marketing, communication and promotion, as well as a new customer service program Mr Hardy described as an "executive service concept".

"We are working through it with our dealers ... to ensure customers at that end of the market get the service and responsiveness they would expect from a prestige brand.

"Services could include a fetch and drop-off service, loan cars, the kind of facilities and climate in which customers are received, the attention to detail from a technical point of view and the subsequent follow-up.""It's really the basics, we are simply trying to do it better than in the past with particular focus and emphasis on A6 customers as a start-point." Mr Hardy predicted the 2.4 and 3.0-litre versions of the A6 would account for up to 60 per cent of sales, with the three flagships - the biturbo, 4.2 V8 quattro and S6 - accounting for the rest.

"I think the biturbo is a high performance derivative right in the middle of the range," he said.

"It's a very interesting car technically and very rewarding to drive. I think between the 3.0-litre and the 2.7, we are going to have two very interesting cars right in the middle of the pack."* Watch out for the first Oz drive of Audi's revised A6 line-up on Monday, February 11.

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