Audi has grown as a car manufacturer and a brand since 2000 CITATION Mar11 \l 1033 (MarketLine, 2011). Its sales have even surpassed those of Mercedes and BMW, two of its greatest competitors and bigger players in auto manufacturing CITATION Mar11 \l 1033 (MarketLine, 2011). Attributed to this success is innovation on new technology implemented in the improvement of car performance as well as enhancement of Audis brand image CITATION Mar11 \l 1033 (MarketLine, 2011). Among Germanys three main car manufacturers, Audi was seen as the least significant player until 2000. Indeed, Mercedes sold twice as many cars as Audi, while Audi sold three-quarters as many cars as BMW. This changed by 2010 when Audi reached the levels of its competitors in terms of sales CITATION Mar11 \l 1033 (MarketLine, 2011). In order for this to happen, Audi had to introduce a range of new car models to match those of its direct competitors in the market. From saloons to hatchbacks to 4x4s, the A4s and A3 ranges as well as the A5 and Q models propelled Audis growth in sales between 2000 and 2010. This is an indication of the success of the companys strategy of introduction of new models across various classes of cars to match competition CITATION Mar11 \l 1033 (MarketLine, 2011).
Apart from introduction of brands across different classes, Audi has improved on its luxury range of cars through the introduction of an improved A8 model; rivalling the Mercedes S class and the BMW 7 series CITATION Mar11 \l 1033 (MarketLine, 2011). Additionally, the Audi R8 helped the company break into the high-performance sports car range. The success of this model was down to incorporation of technological innovations in the car CITATION Mar11 \l 1033 (MarketLine, 2011). Thus, it has managed to cater for everyones needs; both high end, and other sectors of demand in the auto-markets. These two forces, coupled with the point that Audi has transformed its brand image from that of a conservative car company to a trend-setter in design and high-performance as well as car quality have propelled Audi into new markets such as China CITATION Mar11 \l 1033 (MarketLine, 2011).
Assessment of the Cases Forces of Change
The main forces of change that propelled Audi into unprecedented growth include the fact that it needed to match its competitors and grow as brand. The companys leaders acknowledged that the company was behind the two direct competitors; Mercedes and BMW and had to do come up with a strategy to come out of the situation CITATION Gra15 \l 1033 (Grant, 2015). The first thing they did was to come up with more car models to offer variety to customers; have a model for everyone. Secondly, performance on its models had to be improved. Thus, technological innovations boosted this ensuring enhanced model versions like S8 and RS4; enabling eventual competition with other high-end luxury models made by Mercedes and BMW.
To compete effectively, Audi needed to rebrand transform from the conservative car manufacturers they previously were, into trendsetters not afraid of introducing new things in the markets in various car ranges CITATION Gra15 \l 1033 (Grant, 2015). Today, they are synonymous with quality and high-performance; exactly what customers want in the modern age. Apart from that, these technologies have allowed the company to distinguish themselves from competitors. This means there are certain unique features in Audi cars that are not seen in other brands.
Use of SWOT Analysis and Action Plans in supporting Leaders and Managers in the Analysis and Evaluation of Results of a Change Initiative
SWOT Analysis is often at the center of strategic planning CITATION Com16 \l 1033 (Comino & Ferretti, 2016). Organizations that use SWOT Analysis look at the Strengths, the Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats that the company or organization has in a bid to improve the present situation and strategize for the future CITATION Ift13 \l 1033 (Iftekhar, Ayub, Razzaq, & Aslam, 2013). Thus, once a company identifies the strengths they have, they adopt them and look for ways of taking advantage of them vis-a-vis the other parts of the SWOT Analysis which are opportunities, Weaknesses and Threats CITATION Ift13 \l 1033 (Iftekhar, Ayub, Razzaq, & Aslam, 2013). With knowledge of these areas, leaders and managers look for ways of minimizing weaknesses and threats by taking the opportunities available. Thus, in a change initiative, managers and leaders look for the best ways through which they can engage their staff or employees ensuring that they understand the task at hand and what needs to be done to ensure a change initiative is successful CITATION Gra15 \l 1033 (Grant, 2015).
Action plans enable leaders and managers maintain focus on the key tasks that have to be completed to achieve organizational goals and objectives.
Recommendations and Examples on How to Mitigate Forces of Change
Change is always inevitable. At the beginning of the smartphone age, Blackberry and Nokia refused to change with the tide. They were left behind and never recovered CITATION Gra15 \l 1033 (Grant, 2015). Thus, in business today, technology has to be incorporated to meet demands by customers in all industries for innovative products CITATION Gra15 \l 1033 (Grant, 2015). This has also been shown by Audi by investing in research and development to improve its range of cars and come up with new models that are superior to models made by its competitors. Therefore, research and development through to create innovations helps in mitigation of forces of change CITATION Gra15 \l 1033 (Grant, 2015). Employees have to be trained and allowed to express their ideas at work. This means accommodating new ways of doing things; moving away from legacy systems to new systems.
BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 Comino, E., & Ferretti, V. (2016). Indicators-based spatial SWOT analysis: Supporting the strategic planning and management of complex territorial systems. Ecological Indicators, 1104-1117.
Grant, R. M. (2015). Contemporary Strategy Analysis 9e Text Only. John Wiley & Sons.
Iftekhar, H., Ayub, A., Razzaq, A., & Aslam, M. S. (2013). A conceptual framework on evaluating SWOT analysis as the mediator in strategic marketing planning through marketing intelligence. European Journal of Business and Social Sciences, 91-98.
MarketLine. (2011). Audi Case Study: Post-millennium success. London: MarketLine Case.
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