“Due to recent changes in the distribution process and the manufacturing of key Audi models outside Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, Audi AG has decided to end its European Delivery program for U.S. customers at the conclusion of 2018,” an Audi spokesperson told us.
It’s a super disappointing move from Audi, as European Delivery is one of the coolest option boxes to check for a new car made there. Audi’s program offered a 5 percent discount on most models, a one-night hotel stay, ground transportation, and breakfast and lunch on delivery day. Depending on the model, you’d arrive in Ingolstadt or Neckarsulm and get a factory tour — Ingolstadt included free museum tickets, too. Once you’ve gone to Audi college for the requisite amount of time, you’re free to roam about Europe with your brand-new car. Audi provided 15 days of free insurance, and owners could then return their new car to one of 17 locations upon departure. Then you fly home and collect the car at your local dealership in a couple of weeks.
If it sounds like Audi was paying for a trip gallivanting around Europe in your new luxury car, that’s because it was. Depending on how expensive your car was to begin with, the discount could essentially pay for your vacation and more. We don’t have any figures to know how popular the option was, but it wasn’t the easiest thing to pull off all the time. Programs like these required the buyer to have financing arranged before the car was even built, and then you had to wait for it to be assembled before going to get it. Not everybody has this amount of forethought or lead time for a car purchase.
The problem here is described as changes to distribution and manufacturing, not demand-related. However, Audi would never say it’s ending a program because nobody wanted it anyway. Regardless of the reasons for its disappearance, we’ll be sad to see it go. Similar European delivery options are still available for brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volvo.