Standing near a busy intersection in Calcutta, you would hear a horn honk every 3 seconds. Or, as one Audi India executive explained, “With the amount of honking in Mumbai, we do on a daily basis what an average German does on an annual basis.”
As a result, Audi equips the cars it sells in India with louder and more resilient horns than those destined for Europe. And, to be sure that their horns measure up, they even test them with 2 weeks of steady honking. (A European horn would not survive the ordeal.)
In addition, because Audi India’s high-end clientele tend to have drivers, they need to make their back seats more appealing. As a result, the rear of the car provides more comfort, more entertainment, and more control.
Where does this take us?
“Being a trading nation is about more than shipping products abroad. At first it was the 18th century New England merchants who facilitated trade from home. During the 19th century, businesses like I. M. Singer & Co. (sewing machines) secured foreign patents, sold exclusive selling rights to representatives abroad and established foreign manufacturing facilities. Then, the next step was the foreign subsidiary through which the multinational firm increasingly took on the identity of its home away from home.”
Sources and Resources: Thanks to marginalrevolution.com for introducing me to Audi-India’s horns and to the Detroit News and the Globe and Mail for more detail. And finally, you might want to compare our recent post on Nissan eyeing the low-end of emerging markets like India’s with Audi’s high-end strategy.