Create your own car utopia with the Audi City
Audi could eventually change the way that autos are sold in the US.
Technology is moving into the space that was usually taken up by a hard-sell salesperson. Customize your very own Audi and experience your perfect auto in a virtual space. The Audi City, as it has been named, features massive LED Screens, floor to ceiling screens referred to as power walls. Using a multi-touch table you configure your perfect car (currently 49 models) and then experience every aspect of an Audi in 1:1 scale via the power wall. Configure your perfect Audi then actually “open the doors and sit inside”, as you would at your local dealership. Besides the visual, there are sound tracks to add to your experience- engine sounds, music, door closing – you can even go under the hood, open the trunk (but no kicking the tires!).
Almost every aspect of your car can be chosen, such as driveline, paint color, wheels, interior upholstery and trim. There are literally millions of combinations that can be put together. Now you can be “up close and personal”, using a hand gesture to “save” your new Audi (as displayed on the power wall) to USB stick and take it home. You can actually make changes on it as you desire, then bring it again to the Audi City to experience it full scale size. When you decide to purchase, the Audi City has a local dealership to help with the “real reality”.
Some aspects of the new car experience need to be done in person, such as a test drive, financing, servicing, etc. So, it did make business sense to downsize this technology so that it would work in a dealership setting, and some dealerships in Europe now have smaller versions of the Audi City.
Audi has recently opened its third “Audi City” in Kurfurstendamm, Berlin, Germany. The other locations being Beijing and London. According to my sources, this is not just about the technology of virtual reality, but it is all about the soft sell – that is pretty different in itself.