Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Audi to cruise into local market

Audi to cruise into local market

An employee cleans the windscreen of an Audi A3 automobile after completion
An employee cleans the windscreen of an Audi A3 automobile after completion at one of the company’s production plants in Hungary in June. BLOOMBERG

Audi to cruise into local market

German luxury car manufacturer Audi has expanded into Cambodia, joining the recent entry of higher-end automobile producers into a small but growing market.

At a signing ceremony in Phnom Penh yesterday, Audi AG appointed Automotive Asia (Cambodia) Ltd as its official distributor in the country. The distributor is a subsidiary of Automotive Asia, the Audi importer in Vietnam.

Sales will start in mid-2014 after a 2,200-square-metre showroom and workshop is built on Monivong Boulevard. Speaking at the still-empty site yesterday, Christine Rudolph, Audi AG dealer development manager, said it was the right time to enter Cambodia.

“I’m really sure that Audi Cambodia, together with our importer, Audi Vietnam, will be the great success story in Cambodia,” she said, adding in a later email that, “a healthy market requires competition”.

And competition exists. A handful of brands are seeking a foothold in Cambodia’s tiny luxury car market. Besides Mercedes, which has been sold for decades, Bayerische Motoren Werke, or BMW, opened a showroom at the beginning of this month in Phnom Penh through a contract with Cambodia’s Royal Group, and Porsche announced plans earlier this year to open a full sales, service and spare parts facility by mid-2014.

Laurent Genêt, chairman of Automotive Asia in Cambodia, said the local scene is comparable to Vietnam’s six years ago, where a small market was shared by many competitors but still turned out to be successful.

He said Audi’s presence in Phnom Penh also differs from its competitors, because “we are the only luxury brand which came to Phnom Penh central city. We are the only one who is not at the airport. So we have a very different approach to luxury cars and people will see it through the place, the facility, when we open.”

But challenges remain, he said, such as locating the right middle management and hiring mechanics who know Audi cars well enough to do repairs.

Peter Brongers, chief executive officer for the local BMW distributor, said yesterday that with a developing middle class, Cambodia has “more and more people who are able to afford it [a luxury car] and more and more people who understand that buying a car from an official dealer… is simply much safer”.

Brongers said he welcomes competition, but the deal with Audi comes after BMW’s, “and in my opinion, that’s where they will always be, second after BMW”.

According to Genêt, Audi is the fastest-growing luxury car brand worldwide, selling almost 1.5 million vehicles globally last year.

Data from the Ministry of Commerce show that Cambodia imported 440,318 vehicles, including motorbikes, in the first six months of this year, down 17.8 per cent compared to same period of 2012.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,