“Audi Lab for Market Research” Inaugurated at the University of St. Gallen
In cooperation with the University of St. Gallen, AUDI AG will establish a leading research centre that will focus on the even closer integration of customer requirements in terms of automotive development and marketing processes. The cooperation agreement for the “Audi Lab for Market Research” was signed today in Ingolstadt by Ralph Weyler, Board Member for Marketing and Sales at AUDI AG, and Prof. Dr. Ernst Mohr, President of the University of St. Gallen, with a view to achieving these aims.
“As cooperation partners, the University of St. Gallen and Audi are two entities that are undisputed premium brands in their respective fields. This cooperation will not only yield important and new market research findings for both sides, it will also boost both partners’ images,” commented Weyler. Mohr added, “We are looking forward enormously to our partnership with AUDI AG, as it represents a huge advance in the transfer of knowledge between science and industry with respect to automotive marketing.”
For example, Audi intends to use the findings obtained during the project to open up new international markets and fulfil ist potential in existing markets. After all, customers are not the same everywhere and buyer preferences can differ significantly. The aim of the Ingolstadt brand is to find out about the market-specific and individual demands of its customers in greater depth to enable it to serve its customer base even more effectively.
The market research lab is located at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. It will be headed by the leading German-speaking academic in the field of marketing and market research, Prof. Dr. Andreas Herrmann. He will be working with a core team of six scientists on the development of innovative market research methods and the early identification of new research fields in this area. The agreement will initially run until 2008. Audi is funding two assistant posts and is contributing to the necessary infrastructure.
The Audi Lab for Market Research enjoys access to an established network of researchers. Prof. Dr. Eric J. Johnson from the Columbia University in New York, for instance, will play an active role in the market research project. He is Professor of Business at the Columbia School of Business and one of the leading academics in the recording of consumer decision-making processes. Also from Columbia University is Prof. Jonathan Levav, a pupil of Prof. Daniel Kahnemann, who received the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2002.
Representing Germany is Prof. Dr. Frank Huber from the University of Mainz. Huber has already led numerous projects concerned with customer integration and is a highly-respected brand expert. The final member of the network is Prof. John Hauser, PHD, from Sloan Management School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA. MIT researchers will be looking at topics concerning the vehicle design process in particular.
The Head of the Audi Lab, Prof. Herrmann, explained, “This high-calibre team will enable us to tap into entirely new fields of market research. Our aim is to identify and develop innovations in areas such as the vehicle configurator, design and pricing, and to do so from the customer’s perspective at all times.”