Increasingly fierce competition in Australiaâ€™s usually serene premium-car segment has led to a spat between Audi Australia Pty. Ltd. andGroup Australia, as each accuses the other of discounting their vehicles â€“ something not usually done in the segment.
The Melbourne Age says the pressure is on as Australiaâ€™s luxury-car sector has failed to grow as fast as the overall market. Audi has seen sales increase 41% this year to close in on segment-leader.
BMW Australia Managing Director Geunther Seemann started the spat when he ignored Audi and said BMW has only two competitor brands in Australia, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, the newspaper reports.
â€śPremium cars have rear-wheel drive because of comfort and design,â€ť Seemann is quoted as saying, taking care not to name Audi, which sells front-wheel-drive cars and all-wheel- drive vehicles, mostly based on front-drive designs fromAG.
â€śA premium brand never, ever does short-term actions to increase sales,â€ť he says. â€śFor example, offering tomorrow a A$15,000 ($12,626) discount, because you will lose recent customers who bought the car for the normal price.â€ť
Audi Australia chief Joerg Hofmann reportedly reacted at the launch of the TT roadster and S3 hot hatchback in Australia.
â€śEvery manufacturer is reacting to us in different ways, smarter and less smart ways,â€ť Hofmann is quoted as saying.
â€śI think itâ€™s a quite strong message, if somebody puts a big amount of dollars (in discounts) behind an almost brand-new volume model,â€ť he says in reference to BMWâ€™s 3-Series. â€ś(It) is a car which was launched a year ago and now already supported by thousands of dollars (in discounts).â€ť