A New Era for Audi Taiwan

Rahil Ansari’s resumé tells a story of a man who seizes opportunities. Born and raised in Germany with a trilingual background, Ansari spent his university years studying an international program that took him to Aachen in Germany, France, Sweden, and New York before landing his first job at a Dutch health manufacturer in Amsterdam.

“It wasn’t as interesting as it had seemed, and luckily so,” he says. “The next company I joined was Audi. I joined on the finance side in 2004, mainly fighting with the sales department on how to position cars. Apparently, I didn’t do that bad a job because after two years they asked me to join sales and develop our business in India.”

After starting up the Audi operations in India, Ansari wanted to gain retail experience and looked for opportunities elsewhere before receiving a call from his former boss in 2011, asking him to return and further expanding the India operations. During his second posting in Mumbai, Ansari and his team more than doubled the number of dealers in the country. After moving back and forth between India and Germany in various positions at Audi, Ansari received another pivotal call last year asking if he would be interested in being Managing Director of Audi Taiwan.

“I saw it as a great opportunity,” he says. “The quality of life in Taiwan is superb, the economy is booming, and there’s a lot of potential for Audi and Volkswagen here. My predecessor, Matthias Schepers, did an excellent job building a foundation for the company, and now, I want to take it to the next level.”

Taking Audi Taiwan to the next level includes implementing and localizing the brand’s “Vorsprung 2030” strategy, bringing Audi into a green and digital era.

“Our key aspiration is to be perceived as the most desirable and innovative luxury brand in Taiwan,” says Ansari. “We want to be a brand to look up to, and we want Audi customers to experience the brand beyond just the showroom by offering a seamlessly integrated digital ecosystem and driver experience.”

The seamless driver experience focuses not only on enhancing Audi cars through breakthrough technology, but also on synergizing the Volkswagen brands with a more human-centric approach and enabling customers to be more in touch with their car. “If I can communicate with my car, know how I’m driving it and what the car’s health status is, as well as what the brand is doing for me, I’ve achieved a seamless driver experience,” notes Ansari.

But perhaps the most important strategic change is Audi’s commitment to enhancing its electric vehicle portfolio. The new Audi e-tron and the e-tron GT are only the beginning, notes Ansari. After releasing its last internal combustion engine vehicle model in 2025, Audi and the Volkswagen Group’s portfolios will consist of only EVs by 2033 before aiming to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

“Our e-tron GT is the latest addition of electric cars,” says Ansari. “Our head designer Mark Lichte said it’s the most beautiful car he’s designed, and I think he’s right. When you look at it, you might think it’s just a sports car, but it’s actually the perfect combination of sports car and grand tourer, with the advantage of being battery-driven. Surprisingly, it’s also popular among families, and definitely big enough to comfortably fit four people.”

Audi has set up charging stations at all its Taiwan dealerships, and there are going to have 10 locations with available superchargers on the island. “We’re also initiating collaborations to ensure more charging locations,” says Ansari. “Our drivers can feel confident that there are enough charging spots on the island, whether they’re camping in Hualien or taking a road trip to Kaohsiung.”

Internally, Audi Taiwan is focused on diversifying its leadership team and promoting a speak-up culture where employees are not inhibited by hierarchies. The company is also setting up a mentorship program, a shadowing scheme, and is investing in leadership and project management training. “There’s a lot of project-based work happening, and we are promoting cross-departmental collaborations and an entrepreneurial spirit to raise our quality of work,” says Ansari. “By investing in our people, we can be confident in the coming success of our Vorsprung transformation.”