Audi steps up VR game with digital showroom

The Audi VR experience at the Singapore Motorshow 2017
The Audi VR experience at the Singapore Motorshow 2017

Car-design experience is not just a gimmick for the Singapore Motorshow, but the future of personalized customer pampering, according to the brand.

With all the brands competing for attention at the Singapore Motorshow 2017, Audi is set to draw attention with a new virtual reality campaign.

Taking the technology to "the next level," according to Anna Bory, Audi Singapore marketing general manager, the setup allows consumers to completely customize any Audi model car to their tastes within a virtual environment.

Customers can personalize thousands of different elements of their chosen vehicle, right down to minute details such as the seat piping, and then experience sitting inside the car to get an immersive sense of what their future Audi will look and feel like.

The VR campaign also allows users to view the car in different settings, from an urban rooftop, to Icelandic mountains and even the moon.

At the show, Audi is also presenting a second VR experience that recreates the experience of being in a Le Mans race pit lane. But this is purely for entertainment, as opposed to the car builder application, which Bory said is a sales and marketing asset. 

"In general, we know the future of mobility is in technology," Bory told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "Cars are becoming smart cars. That affects the whole environment, not just the car itself, but retail and marketing as well. At last year’s motor show we had VR, but it was static. This is the next level."

The VR experience premiered only last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas; Singapore is the first market outside CES to launch the campaign.

"Asia is the most advanced continent in the world digitally, and it’s also where people adopt new technology faster," Bory said. "This new VR experience really shows everything we can offer. It gives customers the opportunity to see their car, which you don’t really get right now; you just look in a catalog."

VR experiences are also an advantage in space-constrained Asia, as they take up a lot less space than a traditional auto showroom.

"We’re moving more to premium, digital showrooms where you can relax in style, and then go into a small room and completely customize your car," Bory said. "That’s the future of retail as we see it."

With all the talk around personalization as a key facet of consumer expectation, Bory said Audi has fully taken this into account when designing its new VR campaign.

"The future of retail is you walk into the atmosphere of the brand and get pampered," she said. "Once you customize your car, as you leave you get a code and a picture of your car. It cannot get more personalized than this."

Bory said the campaign will be rolled out globally throughout the year, including in different markets across Asia-Pacific. She also said Audi plans to develop the campaign further.

"People sometimes think VR is gimmicky, but this is a full customer experience, and it’s only the beginning. Consumers don’t always see the full potential for VR, and we at Audi are already working with partners on new developments."

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