So as anyone who has read my signature knows, I have been waiting for my S4 order to arrive for quite a while now. I ordered on December 9, 2010 and was told 75 to 90 days, even though I ordered Daytona Gray, a custom color. My build date kept getting pushed back, from January to February, to March and finally to May, putting my delivery date at sometime in mid to late July. When I got the news of the May build date/July delivery from my SA, I was not pleased to say the least. Feeling rather resigned to an interminable wait, I decided to vent by writing a letter to various VAG and Audi executives, including the CEO/Chairman of VW, Audi's President of Production, and the President of Audi USA (not quite as therapeutic as firebombing the dealership, but letter writing involves considerably less jail time). I wasn't bitchy or whiny, or even complain in the letter, I just expressed my disappointment that after paying $2,500 for an "exclusive" color, I would have to wait an additional 5 months above and beyond the usual 3 month wait time for an off-the-shelf color. If Audi is planning on overtaking BMW as the #1 luxury manufacturer in the world, it is going to be a difficult journey if they are being tripped up by things as simple as paint, was essentially what I wrote. Thinking I may get a form letter in return but really expecting no reply, I sent off the letters.
Fast forward two weeks. Sitting at work one day, my cell phone rings, number I don't recognize. Don't answer because I'm talking to my boss. Check my voicemail - "Hello Mr. DATZ, this is Johan de Nyschen, President of Audi USA, calling in response to your letter regarding your S4 order. Please give me a call back, my direct office line is XXX-XXX-XXXX." Um, ok.
So I call him back thinking it's some sort of joke. He answers and immediately starts apologizing for the delays, saying there are trunk component shortages, the car is in high demand, and the situation is compounded by me ordering an Exclusive color which requires switching over the factory line blah blah blah. But, he says, these are internal Audi issues and should not cause me extensive delays; the order should have been flagged as stale much sooner and an 8 month delay is absolutely unacceptable, says he. And then he says, "I've personally spoken with the factory manager in Germany and had your built date moved up to April, so you should have your car by mid June. And, if it's acceptable to you, I'd like to locate you an S4 from our fleet which will be yours to use for free until your ordered car arrives." Yup, that'll work for me!!
He also must have called my dealership and reamed them out for not being honest with me in the first place (it turns out the build date was May all along and the Jan/Feb/March/April build dates were total BS from my SA to string me along), because the dealership manager and GM both called me and practically begged me to keep my order and that they'd throw in Audi Care for free. Quite and overnight attitude change from not caring at all if I canceled the day before when I spoke with them.
A week later (today) I get a call from Audi's head of the Northeast region saying they've located an S4 for me to use, it's being prepped and detailed and will be delivered to me at work at 5pm today. Nice way to start the week off! So I come downstairs from the office at 5 o'clock to see this waiting for me -
2011 Phantom/Brilliant black (dunno which), Prem+, DSG, Sports Diff, Alcantara panda interior, Titanium package. It looks really murdered out, with the black paint/grill/trim, which really isn't me (unlike the guy parked next to me apparently), but it'll be fun to roll in for (for free!) for a few months. It's an f'ing blast to drive. It has about 5k miles, and was apparently a press/PR car for Audi.
So bottom line - Audi does listen to our concerns, and if you take the right tact with the right people, they may respond 1,000 times beyond expectations. Not a bad move on their part to build some customer loyalty! The wait for my Daytona S4 has just gotten much more tolerable.