In the driving seat?

Smart development always also keeps an eye on cultural requirements

No-one would question the idea that a top-class saloon can be regarded as a status symbol. An Audi A6 driver wants to show not only that he has good taste and appreciates exclusive technology and a luxurious ambience - but also that he has worked hard to earn these attributes. This at least holds true for Europe.

However, status is indicated not only by possessing such a car, but sometimes also by the position of the owner. If someone can afford a premium saloon, then he has not just worked hard for it - he has also acquired the corresponding status in the business world. And one way of showing this in Asia is that, instead of driving the car himself, the owner has someone else drive it for him. Not just to confirm his own status, but also to enable him to continue working whilst he is being driven.

The driver is not always the captain

The EDAG development team was commissioned by Audi to look into this cultural difference: in Europe, the "captain" is also the driver of the vehicle. The controls are in the front. In Asian circles, however, the "captain" sits in the back - so what does that mean in terms of ambience and comfort features for the person travelling on the rear seat?

For a long time, the market entry of the Audi A6 in China was something of a twin challenge for our engineers - on the one hand because the seating is normally one of the vehicle manufacturer's special fields, and has nothing to do with the developers, and on the other because we had not previously given any real thought to cultural differences in vehicle interiors. But EDAG wouldn't be EDAG if we hadn't come up with a number of smart solutions to tackle this challenge.

Working in peace and quiet

In intensive cooperation with Audi, and after extensive research and development, we optimised the comfort features and contents of the rear seat area - down to the smallest detail. Not only the controls - the rear-seat passenger can operate almost every component that serves to enhance the vehicle's ambience - but the acoustics, too, were optimised and massage systems integrated, so that the passenger (or "captain") can work in peace and quiet while the driver takes him to his destination.

The solution which, after numerous models and test vehicles, EDAG finally implemented for Audi made such an impact both in Ingolstadt and the market in general (best in class) that a separate project team for seat development has now been established at EDAG Ingolstadt. This same team is now working on seat development for two further Audi models, so that people all around the world will not just feel the benefit of Audi's slogan "Vorsprung durch Technik" (advancement through technology), but also have maximum seating comfort.