Tuesday, February 28, 2012

After disappointing auto show visit, Audi USA ships RS5, S6, S7 and S8 to customer's doorstep

. Tuesday, February 28, 2012

At Audi, employees live by a German phrase known as "Kundenbegeisterung." Loosely translated as "customer enthusiasm," what you're about to read is an unbelievable example of this corporate mantra. Long-time Audi owner, Joshua Smith (known as "audi_s5" on the A5OC.com forums) recently visited the Chicago Auto Show for an up-close look at the new RS5 before placing an order. Much to Joshua's dismay however—after traveling 3 hours from Wisconsin—Audi's show staff "refused" to open the car or allow him to get a closer look. In an effort to explain his experience and possible decision not to buy the car, Joshua decided to write a letter to Audi of America President, Johan de Nysschen; whose response was nothing short of extraordinary.

Rather than paraphrase the correspondence, we've attached Joshua's original letter and Mr. de Nysschen's reply below.

"Mr. Johan de Nysschen,

I am the proud owner of an Audi S5, A6, and A3 and recently drove to the Chicago Auto Show to see the unveiling of the Audi RS5 to North America.

I am writing this short email to make you aware of my experience at the auto show. I asked an Audi representative if he could open up the RS5 as I was interested in ordering a 2013 model this summer. He refused to open the car or even allow me to get a closer look at the features of the car. I expect this does not meet your expectations.

In the BMW booth at the show I spent over 30 minutes with a BMW representative who showed me the M3 and the all new M5, which was also closed to the majority of the public.

The main reason for my drive to Chicago from Neenah WI (3 hour drive) was to see and discuss the possibility of ordering the RS5. I am an active member and participant of the Chicago Audi Club in Illinois and Badger Audi Club in Wisconsin.

I am not sure based on my experience if I am going to place an order. How can I expect to spend 90k without the ability to sit in the seat, or open the hood? (The car in the show featured carbon ceramic brakes. If this is an available option in the US, thank you!) A sincere thanks for all you do from a true Audi enthusiast.


Joshua Smith"

And Mr. de Nysschen's response:

"Dear Mr Smith,

I regret to learn of your unfavorable experience at the Audi Stand during the Chicago Auto Show.

I can understand your disappointment. Not to offer excuses but to shed some light on the matter, I would like to offer some additional background explanation.

The RS 5 on our exhibit is a pre-production car. The number of RS 5 units currently available worldwide is very limited and thus for the US we only have one car available for the entire Auto Show season. The same car is therefore displayed at about 10 Auto Shows across the US. Since it is a pre-production prototype it is difficult to obtain replacement parts in the event that something is damaged. You will be astonished at what people do to cars at these shows.

From experience we know that when left open a car is not presentable anymore after 2-3 Auto shows. Therefore our Auto show staff are instructed to exercise great caution with these specific cars.

Nevertheless, the cars are to be experienced and thus our staff are also instructed to offer interested attendees to return to the stand at a less crowded time to receive a full walk-around of the car. ( You can imagine that once a highlight car is opened on a crowded floor, it becomes impossible to control access thereafter).

I apologize that this clearly was not offered to you when you were at the stand.

One of my team members will contact you shortly to arrange a private viewing of the RS5 for you. We will be pleased to truck the car to your home so that you can take a close look at this stunning driving machine. The car will be in Chicago until March 9th when it will be moved to the next Auto Show.

I hope this will meet with your acceptance.

Best Regards

Johan de Nysschen
Audi of America, Inc"

Now here's the kicker. Not only did Audi of America send Joshua the only RS5 show car in North America, they decided to pack an S6, S7, S8 and Euro-spec A8 3.0T along for the ride. All delivered via tractor trailer, direct to his doorstep.

As for Joshua's decision of buying the RS5? Here's what his forum post had to say.

"Wow!! By far the best example of customer service and experience. This is the reason why I currently own three Audi's (actually have owned six audi's [sic] in the past 7 years) and will be placing my order. Words can't begin to describe it!"

What's more, this is not the first time the Audi of America boss went out of his way to make a customer happy. Long time readers of this blog may remember a story titled Audi goes above and beyond to help long-waiting S4 buyer, in which Mr. de Nysschen personally arranged for a dissatisfied S4 buyer to receive a complimentary S4 loaner for six months, whilst waiting for his car to be built.

Needless to say, Mr. de Nysschen's devotion to Audi customer satisfaction is beyond exemplary. In an age of endless voice mail loops and canned email responses, stories like this are a pleasant reminder that the brand we all care so deeply for, cares just as deeply for us.

Souce: A5OC.com via QuattroWorld