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Known for its trademark emblem — four interconnected rings — German automaker Audi dates back to 1899. Today, the emblem of Volkswagen-owned Audi symbolizes the sportiness, quality and design of its luxury vehicles. Audi, whose rivals include Germany’s BMW and Mercedes-Benz, operates under the German motto “Vorsprung durch Technik,” or “advancement through technology.”
If you want a piece of that advanced technology for yourself by financing a new Audi through the manufacturer, the carmaker boasts that its in-house financing outfit, Audi Financial Services, is as “progressive and innovative” as the auto brand itself. Whether you’re leasing or purchasing, Audi Financial Services drives people to its dealerships with a number of offers.
Audi Financial Services falls under parent company Volkswagen Group and its U.S. financing arm, VW Credit Inc. Though credit requirements are not listed on its website and AFS did not respond to a request for comment, applying for financing through Audi Financial Services affords access to exclusive deals, such as incentives for current Audi customers or limited-time, low-APR specials, as well as financing programs for college graduates and first-time car buyers, which we’ll describe in more detail later.
Of course, Audi Financial Services (or any other dealer-affiliated lender) isn’t your only option for buying or leasing a car. The Federal Trade Commission recommends shopping around and asking several lenders, including banks, credit unions and auto financing companies, about their credit terms before settling on a specific car. It does not hurt your credit to apply to multiple lenders any more than it does to apply to one lender if you do all applications within a 14-day window.
If a lender preapproves you for financing, you’ll learn about the APR, maximum amount available, length of the loan or lease term and other details before you step foot in a dealership. This knowledge provides leverage to negotiate with a dealer.
You can fill out an online form at LendingTree to compare preapproved auto loan offers from as many as five lenders.
At this writing, Audi Financial Services provides two special financing programs: a loyalty incentive for current Audi owners interested in financing a new Audi and a financing deal for certain pre-owned Audis. It also extends everyday offers to certain groups of customers, such as college graduates and first-time buyers.
Audi Financial Services gives a $750 incentive to a person, a member of the person’s household or a business customer who already owns or leases an Audi (2009 model year or later). At participating dealerships, the incentive is applied to the purchase or lease of a new 2018 or 2019 Audi. This incentive program is scheduled to end April 1, 2019. Keep in mind this incentive is for “highly qualified” customers, though Audi Financial Service does not define what “highly qualified” means on its website.
“Highly qualified” customers may also qualify for a 1.99% APR for up to 24 months on certain 2013 to 2017 Audi certified pre-owned vehicles (CPOs). The deal, which is set to expire Feb. 28, 2019, requires no down payment. It’s available for Audi A3, A4, A6, Q5 and Q7 CPOs financed by Audi Financial Services through participating dealers.
Additionally, Audi Financial Services tailors offers to several types of customers. Here are two of them.
Recent or future graduates may be eligible to lease or finance a new or pre-owned Audi. Benefits include:
To qualify for the College Graduate Program, a potential customer must:
Audi Financial Services says that when it’s time to go to the dealership, a participant in the College Graduate Program must show these five documents:
If you’re financing your first vehicle and you’ve been employed full time for at least a year, you might qualify for Audi financing. Here’s how the program works:
Under the First Time Buyer Program, these are the five pieces of information you’ll need to bring to the dealership when you’re ready to get your car:
Audi Financial Services encourages prospective customers to apply for financing online. The company says this process takes 10 to 15 minutes.
In the online application, you’ll be asked to select the type of vehicle you want to finance, whether you want a loan or a lease, indicate how much your down payment will be and supply information about yourself and your employment history. Audi Financial Services says this preapproval process simplifies your visit to the dealership.
In a new twist on the digital application form, Audi Financial Services also allows would-be borrowers to shop for cars and apply for leasing or financing through a smartphone app called AutoGravity. Audi vehicles aren’t the only ones available on the app — you can find a range of cars there — but VW Credit is an investor in AutoGravity. AutoGravity says the app’s four-step process delivers up to four offers for leasing or financing an Audi. Here are the four steps:
Typically, credit applications from dealerships like those that sell Audis will ask for the following information, according to the FTC:
The FTC says most dealerships also will pull a copy of your credit report, which might impact your credit score.
Audi Financial Services offers leasing options of 7,500, 10,000, 12,000 and 15,000 miles per year for current model-year vehicles. Here are the details of buying extra mileage:
In addition to a disposition fee at the end of your lease, you might also pay for going over the mileage limit and for such things as excess wear and tear.
Before you enter a leasing agreement with Audi Financial Services or any other company, be sure to weigh the pros and cons.
One of the key benefits of leasing is that monthly lease payments usually are lower than monthly loan payments for the same car, according to the FTC. Plus, you can enjoy driving a new-to-you car if you decide to turn in your leased car once the contract ends.
However, among the drawbacks of leasing are not owning the car after the lease expires (unless you decide to buy it), and taking the risk of surpassing the mileage threshold and possibly paying an over-the-limit charge, the commission says. Also, you could end up paying a fee for early termination of the lease.
Be sure to check out our guide on whether to lease or buy and our guide on how a car lease buyout works.
There’s one more way to get a new Audi: subscribing. The automaker in 2018 introduced a subscription service for five Audi models. As of this writing, Audi select is only available for customers who live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Cost: Priced at $1,395 a month, the service includes two vehicle swaps per month via concierge pickup and delivery at dealerships, as well as a home-delivery option. Insurance, maintenance, roadside assistance and unlimited mileage are part of the deal, along with two days of Silvercar rentals per month.
So, what if you’re itching to get behind the wheel of an Audi but don’t want to finance it through Audi Financial Services? In today’s marketplace, you’ve got choices, including:
Aside from using its own in-house financing arm, a car dealership might send your credit application to several lenders that it does business with. Whatever path you take, remember that shopping around for a loan before you shop for a car lets you nail down the most favorable terms, including a low APR.
The Audi we know today resulted from the combination in 1932 of four previously independent auto manufacturers: Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer.
The company has come a long way in its more than 80 years as a unified automaker.
In 2017, Audi set a sales record by delivering nearly 1.9 million cars to customers around the world. A year later, in 2018, the company rolled out its first all-electric vehicle (the e-tron) and now plans for about one-third of Audi vehicles in the U.S. to be electric-powered by 2025.
Those milestones came as Audi and its parent company, Volkswagen, continued to cope with a scandal surrounding VW’s scheme to skirt U.S. requirements for diesel vehicle emissions. As a result of the scandal, certain Audi diesel models have been recalled.
At Audi’s annual meeting in 2018, Rupert Stadler, the automaker’s chairman, declared that the “diesel crisis is not yet over for us.”
“We regret the uncertainty and the annoyance for our customers, for our employees and VW group partners, for the authorities and the public,” Stadler said. “Rest assured: We have [learned] from these occurrences. We are now focusing even more on acting with integrity, which is the basis of all our decisions.”
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