Bristol Audi chosen for carmaker’s prestigious on demand service

Interview | Transport & Distribution

Steve Smith AudiSteve Smith of Bristol Audi spoke with Business Leader about his pride in the establishment being chosen as one of the selected pilot dealers across the UK for the group’s on demand service.

Audi AG have selected key positioned cities in the UK to roll out a future mobility project which they have launched in Germany, USA, China and Japan.

Bristol has been chosen as one of only 11 Audi on Demand centres in the UK.

What trends are we seeing in the automotive industry?

Autonomous driving is a big one. There’s been a lot of bad press about it, but actually it’s an aid. It’s not there to replicate or replace the driver, but it’s there to make the car safer. Because of autonomous driving, the accident rate will drop for pedestrians and the occupants.

You’re one of only 11 centres in the UK to be a part of the Audi on demand scheme, what can this do to help businesses?

Audi on demand offers businesses the chance for a premium hire car experience in return we’ll offer premium products. There could be someone in a business who’s a new starter awaiting a company car, or maybe there’s a representative of a company who needs a car for a meeting, we’re able to cater for this.

We provide an executive service in an executive way for a premium product. Audi on demand is easy, once setup on the system, you choose the car you’re having, the car you see is the car you’re having and the price you pay is just that.

There’s been car rental firms around the country for many years now, how is Audi on demand different to those?

There’s a segment of the market that when they go to a hire company for a premium experience, for a premium product, with no hidden extras, they’re let down and we can fit into this segment. We’re not looking to get into the car hire market, but we are looking to fit into the gap where the car hire market doesn’t quite fit for businesses.

How has the scheme gone so far?

We’re only in major cities across the UK and we’ve strategically placed the scheme in those cities where there’s a real need. We started the project around two years ago in Los Angeles and Tokyo and we’re very lucky that Audi AG looked at the UK and wanted one in Bristol. I’m very proud that our Bristol site has been selected.

We’re given a lot of bad information about diesel vehicles is the move away from these as necessary as we’re told?

I think a driver needs to look at what the needs are from their vehicle and base their decision on that and not the scaremongering of local politicians looking to further their career by bringing projects in which contain buzzwords. Diesel is not bad, old diesel was a lot dirtier than it is now and I get why we have to do something about that, but if you’re someone doing more than 12,000 miles a year, then a diesel is the car for you.

When looking at reducing harmful gases and fumes electric vehicles will be the way forward. Our full electric vehicle arrives in January called the E-Tron, it has a range of 250 miles, and it’s a real competitor for Tesla and others.

Where do you see the future of transport?

There will be less ownership. There will be more autonomous driving where you will go to your office and then the vehicle will go and park itself in a car park. These car parks will be able to fit twice as many cars because you don’t need space in between them for people.

I also think there will be less two car families. Parking is of a premium and therefore I think leasing cars will become more of the norm. We’ll never have utopia of not needing a car and relying on public transport, it doesn’t give you enough flexibility, but I think supplementing a lot of our journeys with public or shared transport is the answer.

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