Audi announced to its dealer distribution network this morning that the European Delivery Program will come to an end this year. This program allowed owners to take delivery of their new Audi models at German brand delivery centers in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm. While delivery will continue at those locations, American buyers will no longer have access to this method of delivery.
Audi’s current European Delivery Program was re-introduced in 2006. The program proved popular amongst enthusiasts seeking to drive their new German automobiles in the country of their origin, and also on the unlimited speed sections of the Autobahn such as the A9 near Ingolstadt. No doubt the program will be sorely missed.
The reasons for the cancellation provided in the dealer communication by Audi of America seem to site globalization of production as the downfall of the current program. With offerings such as Q5 produced in Mexico, and others like the new Q8 being produced in Bratislava, Slovakia alongside the brand’s popular Q7 model, much of the brand’s top sellers would have to be transported first to delivery centers in order to be delivered to their new owners. Given the European Delivery Program Audi models were already sold at a discount, we’re guessing this proved a less than profitable venture for Audi of America. Add to that the potential of looming tariffs on German automobiles and the program was certainly challenged by these market factors.
Also part of the communication, Audi chose to underline that delighting customers, certainly one of the up sides to European delivery, is still incredibly important to the brand. For now, the program will still be open for purchases on eligible models until September 28, with deliveries scheduled through December 14, 2018.
Is this the end of the road for European delivery? For now. Yes. Even still, it’s important to recognize that this isn’t the first time the European Delivery program was canceled. As mentioned above, the program last returned in 2006 and enjoyed a 12-year run. No doubt enthusiasts with intent to drive in their car’s home country are counting the days until a program such as this may make its return.