Is the push market forcing Audi to row back on ambitious agency strategy?

By Staff
2 Min Read

Volkswagen-owned Audi is understood to be postponing the comprehensive roll-out of fixed-price EV car sales, reflecting a move by other brands to similarly row back on the direct-to-consumer agency sales.

Originally scheduled for the end of next month, the decision to tweak its approach comes soon after Jaguar Land Rover abandoned its agency sales project with Stellantis also postponing the shift to direct sales until at least the end of 2026.

Audi was planning to transition by the end of April, which would have included the sales of models like the Q4 e-tron, e-tron GT, and Q8 e-tron being sold direct to car buyers.

The manufacturer now says the transition will begin with the introduction of only the new Audi Q6 e-tron, albeit earlier than scheduled, before being extended to other electric models ‘progressively and aligned with Audi’s new model offensive over the coming year.’

A spokesperson for Volkswagen Group said: ‘Following the successful introduction of an agency model for the sale of electric vehicles to private consumers in the UK by the Cupra, Skoda and Volkswagen brands, Audi will adopt the same model from April 2024, three months earlier than originally envisaged.” 

One industry insider, commenting on recent announcements by a number of OEMs making u-turns on agency questioned whether the agency strategy had been sufficiently thought through in the first place.

“Has the push market changed the thinking? There’s a much freer supply of cars into the UK market now and those cars need to be sold. The challenge is, are there enough buyers for those new cars?”

“Interest rates are probably quadruple or even five, six times of what they were, when agency was established. Dealers always paid stocking costs but actually the OEM now has those cars and the pure funding cost of that is significant.”

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