Around Cortina, Audi is a kind of institution, just as it is a solid point of reference for the Italian Winter Sports Federation and for the Italian stages of the Ski World Cup. A relationship, the latter, which began in 2001 and which this year is renewed for the twentieth time, confirming the German manufacturer as Title sponsor.
The one with the FISI is just younger – fourteen years – but it does not stop at supporting the white circus but extends to the territory with initiatives and investments aimed at a sustainable approach and the careful use of resources. The involvement with the Municipality of Cortina, on the other hand, dates back to 2017: a fleet of 100% electric and plug-in hybrid Audi is available to the municipality, five charging points have been installed together with Enel X and the area has been redeveloped. of Fiames, which has become an icy track where you can test the latest models of the range, alongside qualified instructors.
It was in Fiames that the Italian skiers Sofia Goggia, Marta Bassino and Federica Brignone received their new Audis, in particular an RS 6 Avant and two Q7 TFSIs, then engaging in various exercises on the icy surface. On this occasion we met Fabrizio Longo, CEO of Audi Italia, who after commenting on the successes of the Italian athletes, told us about Audi’s 2021 on the Italian market. «It was a critical year for various reasons including the microchip crisis. Nonetheless, we closed with + 12% of registrations, a result higher than our expectations, given that the second semester went slower than the first. The electric one deserves a separate mention, because if in 2020 we had sold just under two hundred cars, last year we totaled almost 2,500 orders “
So the Q4 e-tron turned out to be very important?
“Yes, and there are three winning features: the internal volume, the ease of the charging process thanks to the e-tron Charging Service (290,000 charging stations in Europe and 19,000 in Italy) and the ecosystem created around the customer with the rent. It was highly appreciated by both individuals and companies ».
Were the incentives decisive?
“The Italian market is increasingly familiar with the electric and having an incentive system similar to the one in Europe could accelerate the spread of electric cars. As for the Q4 e-tron, the incentives certainly did their part to attract customers, but the winning weapon was the commercial offer made on the rental, which was worth 70% of the cars sold ».
What do you expect from 2022?
“There are many unknowns, some of which we have already discounted. The microchip crisis will last for the whole year and, despite the countermeasures, we will have a reduced production capacity. We started 2022 with a number of unfulfilled orders that are worth 6 months of production, so we do everything we can to minimize customer problems and be transparent about waiting times ».
Returning to motorsport, what does it mean for Audi to participate in the Dakar and return to Le Mans?
«The Dakar is the symbol of our passion for experimentation and innovation. A project born 12 months ago, a hybrid prototype with range extender that has achieved incredible results. We wanted to finish with all three crews and instead we made four wins and ten podiums, as well as entering the top ten of the final standings, without ever having problems with the electrified powertrain. Next year we return to endurance, in the LMDh category, to compete in both Europe and the United States. At Le Mans we reached the most important milestones, not only in terms of victory but also in terms of technology ».