Globally, cars are seen as an effective way of announcing one’s affluence and personality. In most markets, driving around in a luxury car will easily let you stand out from the rest. However, in a market like the Middle East, where the concentration of high net worth individuals is relatively high, this isn’t easy. There will be several others who will be able to afford the same supercar or hypercar that you can buy. This is where personalisation comes in. While in the early days, personalisation was a privilege reserved for customers of marques like Rolls-Royce and Bentley, today brands a notch lower also let you individualise your car.
German carmaker Audi, has had its own customisation department called Audi Exclusive for a while, under the Quattro division. With the quattro having been reinvented as Audi Sport headed by Stephan Winkelmann, the brand is expanding its focus on bespoke cars. This week, the Ingolstadt carmaker revealed a personalised Audi R8 commissioned by Emirati buyer Saif Al Salman. An Audi customer for over 12 years, Saif wanted his new R8 to be distinctive and that’s exactly what he got. “I wanted to explore something beyond the great experience I had with the brand so far and it was clear to me that I wanted to go the bespoke route”, he says. “I wanted to explore Audi Exclusive to the fullest, to see where are the limits and how much can I push them”, he adds.
Looking for something unique, elegant but not too loud, Saif chose a specially mixed purple exterior, and spent hours with the Audi Exclusive team at local dealer Al Nabooda, choosing everything from materials to stitching patterns, which he says were inspired by his tailor-made suits.
Audi sees the demand for such customisation jobs growing in the region as well as in other markets. “This region has long had a strong interest in individuality and performance, and we spend a lot of time with our clients ensuring we can provide both. The demand for customisation is increasing globally,” says Susanne Stöbe, head of product marketing Audi exclusive.