Upbeat and full of energy Markus Siebrecht takes the stage at DLD14 to speak about Audi and its digital customer.
"Everybody who develops something has to think about how to implement it", says Audi's marketing director for Germany. Implementation is a large challenge for the car manufacturer, he continues, where every member of the sales team need to not only understand but also be able to sell new products.
What has changed
Siebrecht describes that the car world is not as it once was. Many members of the audience probably still have a car. But some have probably already switched to bicycles. "All the same, I believe an individual transport solution is going to stay part of our future". But the way in which customers choose their solution has profoundly changed. Once upon a time people went to a dealership in person four or five times before deciding which car model to buy. Now generally people go one or two times. And before they do, they have generally informed themselves online beforehand and gathered advice or opinions from their network. Here, Siebrecht says that: "Vorsprung is really a fight for visibility". Even how sites are ranked on Google is a deciding factor.
What has stayed the same
"But people still want a point of connection, someone to explain things to you," Siebrecht says. This can also be a digital person, he continues. In this sense modern technology is important both for Audi's pre-sales as well as the post-sale customer relations.
After his talk Siebrecht sits down with Greg Harper, president of HarperVisions for the Q&A session. Harper asks Siebrecht about China's market and the self-driving car amongst other points.
Regarding China, Siebrecht says this will probably be the biggest growing car market of the future. "Millions of users will need individual transportation," says Siebrecht, "and this will be a great challenge." He locates this challenge within the large gap that exists in China between those people who would like a car and those who are able to afford one. "We are trying to adapt to that gap," says Siebrecht.
As to self-driving cars he says he believes they will happen. He can envisage a future when people will no longer have to stress about parking, but just drive up to a crowded garage, step out at the entrance and then be picked up by their car again later at the entrance. "The challenge there are legal issues. We need to find a way that a car is legally insured even when it is driving itself."