The Audi interview.


I’d emailed the sales manager of Universal Audi pretty much immediately I’d received the message suggesting he’d be in touch. I had momentum and I wasn’t going to drop it. I said that I understood he’d be contacting me regarding an interview and that I would be happy to make myself available at a time to suit him.

An email duly arrived back suggesting the following afternoon and I gladly responded in the affirmative.

The next twenty four hours dragged, but eventually I was back in the Paul Smith and back in the Polite Hatchback and back on the road, heading for Audi. The dealership was an hour away, this would be some commute each day but I wasn’t in a position to be fussy about it, it’d just be something I’d have to grin and bear. I arrived twenty minutes early and hid in the next street, watching the minutes tick off, engine ticking over to keep the air con running. The last thing I needed was to turn up hot and sweaty. I listened to Steve Wright on Radio Two for fifteen minutes, then one last check on my appearance and it was time to make my move.

The dealership was situated on a modern retail estate and typically Audi, high vaulted ceiling, plate glass walls to the front and sides of the showroom, plenty of designer grey exposed metalwork and an expansive range of expensive metal parked outside. I parked in a vacant customer space, took a deep breath and left the sanctuary of the quiet leather lined interior of my car and headed for the main entrance.

Entering the double doors everything was classic Audi corporate dealership. Grey slate floor tiles, light wood back walls, and a reserved air of hush and stillness. A quiet place of worship, a church of German automotive deities. Over to my far right a sales exec was deep in conversation with a middle aged couple at his desk, to my left another couple were alone, quietly examining a brand new silver A3 Sportback.

I approached reception and gave my name to the obligatory slim smiley receptionist and explained I’d come to see Mr. Finch. She smiled some more and said she’d let him know I was here, before heading over to a door at the rear of the showroom in a sashay of black pencil skirt and high heels.

A few seconds later she was back, Mr. Finch was rather tied up but had asked her to let me know he’d be with me as soon as he could. I thanked her and took my leave as her phone rang in a subtle muted fashion.

Looking around the showroom there was a mix of models on display, but my eye was drawn to the A5 Cabriolet at the far end by the window. Squatting there purposefully and finished in a pearl effect Phantom black it looked discreet yet classy, expensive without being flash, every inch of it subtly styled to perfection. I strolled across and tugged the the door handle, electric window sighing down an inch to break the tight seal against the roof and allow the heavy door to swing easily open. I squatted by the car and breathed in the heady new Audi aroma, my eyes sweeping across the immaculately finished dashboard, a gently curved cliff of carefully considered switchgear, black solidity lifted by subtle flashes of brushed aluminium. Gorgeous. I slid inside, feeling the sports seats firm yet oh so comfortable embrace, running my fingertips over the stitching of the ergonomically designed leather covered steering wheel, rolling and clicking the tactile onboard computer and hi fi controls positioned on the steering wheel spokes. This is what Audi is about, a three dimensional feast for the senses, the look, the feel, the smell all honed to absolute perfection.

I climbed out and swung the door gently shut, window sighing back up snugly against the roof. I walked slowly around the car, there is not one angle at which this car looks anything less than spot on, it has to be one of the most subtle classy and above all beautiful four seater convertibles on the planet. I always thought my A4 Cabriolet would take some beating, but this does it. Then again, at close to forty thousand pounds, it ought to.

Eventually I was approached by a young chap in a sharp suit, the man I’d come to see. He shook my hand and apologised for the delay, seems they were two salesmen down that day, one out on test drive and the one left in the showroom trying to juggle three sets of customers and do a deal with one of them. He ushered me to his office and sat behind a large desk piled with papers and forms.

We began to chat, punctuated now and then by a very apologetic salesman dashing in for a quick and necessary decision on the deal he was embarked on with his customers. The sales manager apologised to me but I assured him it was business first, and not a problem to me. Through the interview I tried my hardest to impart my enthusiasm and understanding of the brand and all it stood for but somehow I just didn’t entirely feel I held his full attention. I felt like offering to come back another day when things were a little less manic but I knew it was now or never so I plugged on.

After twenty minutes we’d run out of useful things to say and I could feel that he was itching to get back out into the fray. We stood and shook hands and left his office together, me heading for the exit and he for the little group clustered around the far desk, keen to strike that deal.

The hours drive home again gave plenty of time for reflection. There were certainly no negative notes, but were there enough positive? I’d done all I could to push my cause, but was it enough? Impossible to say really, time would tell.

Back home I dropped him a quick email thanking him for his time and reiterating my enthusiasm. There was no answer.

This was going to be another waiting game clearly.


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