In a bid to engage prospective buyers keen for a more in-depth opportunity to view (and play) with a future auto purchase, German car manufacturer Audi is launching a new virtual reality (VR) experience in selected dealerships worldwide by the end of 2015.
Using Oculus Rift headsets – immersive gaming technology capable of virtually transporting users to other environments – consumers will be able to browse and customise details on models from Audi's full range, while experiencing the sensation of sitting inside one of the vehicles.
When a user puts on a headset, a camera tracking their movements adapts the display according to their vantage point – following the direct line of their eyesight. Customisation tools will then kick in, allowing them to tailor key interior elements including colours, leathers, inlays, and even the in-car infotainment system.
Boosting the visual experience with specially tailored sonic accompaniments, headphones by premium Danish brand Bang & Olufsen will transmit core acoustic information to the wearer – such as the sound of doors closing, or showcasing the 14-speaker sound system of the Audio A8.
The concept was first unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this month (see our full coverage). It's due to be followed by a second initiative that will enable customers to experience the technology away from the car showroom – such as when visited by an Audi representative at home. For more on the value of enhanced retail service beyond the store space, see Out-of-Hours Shopping, part of our Anywhere Retailing Industry Trend.
For more on how immersive tech is enhancing the car showroom experience, see Innovations in Automotive Retailing and Immersive Brand Spaces. For more on virtual reality as a retail aid across the board, see Virtual Immersive Commerce in our Post-Digital Macro Trend.