Originally published in the Winter 2014 quattro quarterly

A free tank of fuel for my baby, and a green drink for me—it’s Audi Diesel Day. As a way to celebrate the benefits of clean diesel and thank drivers who made the switch, Audi of America took over a 76 station in the Santa Monica business area and offered a free tank of any fuel choice to all Audi Drivers, and a free tank of diesel to drivers of all diesel models.

Audi wrapped the station with full size posters of TDI models and phrases such as Performance, Efficiency, Progressive Luxury, and parked on the corner was physical evidence of diesel performance prowess—the Audi R18 Ultra.

Members of the campaign team waved checkered flags to guide people into the station where complimentary tire and window detailing, coffee, branded key rings and water bottles were also offered. It was a happy day for Audi drivers and their cars. During rush hours, lines curved around the block. In total 750 vehicles (mostly Audis) were serviced before the pumps for unleaded went dry slightly before the 7:00 pm end time. It was still a win for those who showed up and received $50 gift cards for fuel.

The bigger picture of this campaign was to add momentum to the Diesel Movement a week prior to L.A. Auto Show, when all eyes were on LA. In 2005 Audi’s market share here was less than 4% and they created a strategy to double sales performance in this area by 2010 so they could boost the brand with star power. Audi surpassed that goal by a couple of percentage points, and have been on a roll ever since with 44 consecutive months of record breaking sales (at the time this story went to press). So it makes sense to launch a similar strategy for clean diesel.

With natural gas buses, benefits for bicyclists, an early ban on single-use plastic bags, a Tesla dealership, and more Priuses than you can shoot at, Santa Monica is a happening green city. It is here that one can gage the proliferation of alternative fuel vehicles—the most per square mile in Greater Los Angeles (according to my estimate, and I’ll bet there’s a study to back it up). The Audi Design Center of California is also located in Santa Monica, and that was a calculated move. It was designed to be a Center in the center of progressive thinkers. These days the streets are dominated by the four rings, many of them TDI models.

To support drivers making the switch, on Audi Diesel Day, in social media, Audi of America posted a petition by the US Coalition for Advanced Diesel Cars. The article, “State and Elected Officials: Treat Diesel Drivers Fairly” was drafted to reduce the tax burden on diesel drivers. For an update, stay tuned to US Coalition for Advanced Diesel Cars.