Audi will launch its On Demand car service in the UK later this year.
The service allows customers to hire any car in the Audi range for a period of time ranging from days to weeks. Global trials began in 2016 in San Francisco, with the UK initiative set to kick-off from the firm’s new dealership in Oldham this autumn.
The scheme works by allowing customers to reserve a car via an app, and then have it collected and delivered to their own home, or from a dealership. Customers are given a tour of the car and have all its functions explained as part of the service, as Audi believes this will also help them see the benefits they offer, and potentially persuade them to take out more vehicle loans or buy a car.
Audi hopes that the scheme can help it take early steps in understanding how to develop future car ownership models, under which customers may not wish to own a car outright. As such Audi On Demand is feeding into the firm’s future mobility strategy, which includes advancing electrification, connectivity and autonomous technology.
“We see it as a trial from which we can learn,” said Audi UK’s managing director Andrew Doyle. “It’s going to be fascinating both from a consumer point of view and from our point of view, as we find out how people use different cars at different times.
“We’ll get a few things wrong, but we have expertise as a group having launched On Demand in some countries already . We are not rental car experts but we’ll give it a try. The indications are that such a scheme can work, but we’ll start small and test the appetite.”
Doyle acknowledged that there is a risk that customers will typically want a small vehicle during the working week, and either a family-friendly car, open-top car or sports car at weekends, but said: “That’s what we’re looking to learn. And if that is the case, then we will learn lessons in how to manage the fleet of cars that we have available.”