Following WWII, many American servicemen remained overseas in advisory roles. They needed transportation, cars designed for the tight, challenging roads of Europe. Cars from Alfa Romeo, Audi, Austin Healey, NSU, BMW, etc., were more than up to the task. As their tenures came to an end, these same people found it difficult to part with their newfound loves-many brought their cars home. Thus was born the first European delivery program.
And folks are still bringing their European cars across the pond. It's much easier today, thanks to Audi's European Delivery Program. This scheme gives the buyer five percent off the MSRP (three percent for the A3), chauffered transport from Munich airport to a four-star hotel (one room for one night paid for by Audi. The buyer pays for his/her air travel), chauffered transport from the hotel to Audi Forum Ingolstadt, guided tours of the Audi factory and museum and 15 days comprehensive insurance for European travel. There are 20 drop-off locations throughout the continent and Audi handles (and pays for) the shipping all the way to the buyer's American Audi dealership.
Our man Knutson did just that, spending a few glorious days on the autobahn at 150-plus mph. "I decided this was the best way to celebrate the new car. Audi started the program earlier in the year, so I was able to read about the experience and details on the web. I contacted my dealership early on to ensure that I would be able to take delivery as soon as the vehicle became available. Penske Audi's Brendan Harrington and Jerry Loh were instrumental in organizing and providing first-class service throughout the pre-order process. If they didn't have information, they pulled strings to get it. Once the process was started, my order was turned over to Kathy Bis (Audi European Delivery Program Manager), who provided exceptional customer service. Experiencing the Audi factory and Audi Forum in the flesh-compounded with picking up a new S5-was great. I enjoyed driving around Ingolstadt and seeing the new silver B8 A4 and a red R8 on the street before their release in the U.S. There's nothing quite like breaking in your new European car on the A9 autobahn after having just left the factory. I drove to Wrzburg, visited Frankfurt, Berlin, and finally Prague, before returning to Munich via the high-speed Deutsche Bahn. I will definitely be taking advantage of the Euro delivery experience again in the future."
This scheme doesn't cover the R8. There's a special program for those buyers which is a little more upmarket. No discount is offered and air travel still has to be covered by the customer, but accommodation is a five-star hotel in Stuttgart and there are tours of Audi's Neckarsulm facility where most of the Quattro work goes on. After that is the same insurance and shipping deal.
If you've been itching to travel, Audi's European Delivery Program provides the perfect rationale. For more information, visit www.audiusa.com.