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How not to name a car: A guide by Audi

Posted by: Thomas Harrison-Lord on 8 September 2017

Recently, Audi decided to change its nomenclature. That within itself is not cause for celebration, nor a blog post. Usually.

But in this case, holy moly, they confused even the most hardened car enthusiasts. Goodness only knows what the end consumer will think.

Currently, all regular Audi car models have a model designation beginning with the prefix ‘A’. Then the bigger the number after the ‘A’, the bigger the car. A1 for the smallest, up to A8 being the largest. If the letter is a ‘Q’, e.g. Q5, then the vehicle is an SUV. If there is an ‘S’ it’s a quick Audi and ‘RS’ designates an even quicker Audi.

Relatively straightforward; a mix of A1, RS3, S4, A7, Q7 and so on. There are some exceptions, such as the TT, but for the most part, they all follow the rules.

However, now Audi want to add extra numbers before the regular pattern. Stick with me here.

Audi Nomenclature

So, as an example, there could be a 45 A7. The ‘45’ referring to the power from the engine. I’ve inserted the full list below.

  • 30 for models with between 107 and 127bhp
  • 35 for models with between 145 and 159bhp
  • 40 for models with between 165 and 198bhp
  • 45 for models with between 223 and 244bhp
  • 50 for models with between 278 and 304bhp
  • 60 for models with between 423 and 449bhp
  • 70 for models with more than 529bhp

You could be driving a 40 A4, or a 40 A6, or even a 30 A1. Endless combinations – seeing as many Audi models also share their powerplants. Instead of the answer to the perennial question of “what do you drive?” being simply “an Audi Q5”, you could be saying “an Audi 50 Q5”.

The internet was not a fan. See here and here.

I can see where they were going, as it perhaps paves the way for electric models to display their power outputs and sit side-by-side with petrol power in the range. But the numbers don’t even match up, or even slightly relate to, the power produced.

Audi Brand Name

Then, two days later, Audi sacked the person responsible. Dietmar Voggenreiter is now the ex-head of sales and marketing. Not only had the board approved the name changes, but the press release was drafted, released and then the person who came up with the idea sacked.

Way to go Audi. What a mess.

The whole charade only accentuates the need for holistic branding, whereby everyone within an organisation is behind a clear goal. Secondly, sometimes simple is best. Try not to overcomplicate matters. Audi dealers may need a chart to explain the new naming system to befuddled consumers.

In my opinion, this latest example smacks of too much internal debating, whilst being blinkered to the level of understanding a non-car fanatic may or may not possess. A name goes a long way, and consequently, choosing the right one can be a long and complicated process. But never lose sight of the end customer.

See what Fox Agency can do for you, with our specialised automotive marketing.

Categories: Branding, Marketing
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