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Volkswagen and Audi are the latest companies to implement digital technologies, such as iPads, into new ‘digital showrooms’, in a transition to digital media already undertaken by both BMW and Lexus.

Volkswagen, the first automaker to develop a digital customer magazine app for the iPad back in 2010, has announced that staff and dealerships across the UK will be equipped with iPads with access to a range of advanced web tools aimed at closing the gap between the on- and off-line worlds. Volkswagen says the digital showroom concept “allows the manufacturer to showcase more models, specs and equipment than would be possible in even the largest outlet”.

Volkswagen UK head of marketing Rod McLeod said, “Digital advances are taking place at an incredible rate and we need to keep up. But we don’t want to do this at the expense of personal interactions, which is why we’re not only developing our online presence but also trying to bring the digital and real worlds closer together.”

Volkswagen on iPad

The announcement from Volkswagen follows the opening of Audi’s first digital showroom, referred to as ‘Audi City’, in London. The Audi City format presents the brand’s entire model line-up digitally and combines this with personal dealer contact.

Audi says, “Visitors can digitally select their vehicle from several hundred million possible configurations and experience it in realistic 1:1 scale on screens that almost fill the entire space”.

Audi City - London

The switch to a compact digital form requires less space meaning greater flexibility when expanding retail outlets. With this in mind, Audi will open more than 20 stores worldwide by 2015. Whether Australia will be included in the plan is not yet known.

Audi will be hoping the new digital influence helps with reaching its recently readjusted 2020 target of surpassing BMW in global luxury car sales.

BMW and Lexus both currently employ a tablet-equipped Apple-style ‘product genius’ or specialist, to assist customers through their given vehicle ranges.




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