By on March 2, 2012

It’s a situation in which many an auto enthusiast has found himself: You go to an auto show, hoping to see the newest Krautwagen Alpha-Numerical-Alpha Extra Designation Denoting Actual Engine Size, and they have the car locked so you can’t rub your hands and body all over the interior to find out if said interior contains any deadly spikes, sharp corners, or sub-par LCD screens. What do you do? For most normal people, the answer is suck it up and go live the rest of your life. For self-proclaimed “wealth manager” Joshua Smith, however, the answer was slightly different: he sat right down and wrote a letter. Little did he know that Audi was about to make him approximately as famous as Kevin Federline… (Warning: plenty of NSFW language to come)

Mr. Johan de Nysschen,

I am the proud owner of an Audi S5, A6, and A3 and recently drove to the Chicago Auto Show to see the unveiling of the Audi RS5 to North America.

I am writing this short email to make you aware of my experience at the auto show. I asked an Audi representative if he could open up the RS5 as I was interested in ordering a 2013 model this summer. He refused to open the car or even allow me to get a closer look at the features of the car. I expect this does not meet your expectations.

In the BMW booth at the show I spent over 30 minutes with a BMW representative who showed me the M3 and the all new M5, which was also closed to the majority of the public.

The main reason for my drive to Chicago from Neenah WI (3 hour drive) was to see and discuss the possibility of ordering the RS5. I am an active member and participant of the Chicago Audi Club in Illinois and Badger Audi Club in Wisconsin.

I am not sure based on my experience if I am going to place an order. How can I expect to spend 90k without the ability to sit in the seat, or open the hood? (The car in the show featured carbon ceramic brakes. If this is an available option in the US, thank you!) A sincere thanks for all you do from a true Audi enthusiast.


Joshua Smith

What a shame that I wasn’t in Johan’s office that day, just hanging around and impersonating office staff. I would have written the following letter back:

Dear Mr. Smith,

Only a dipshit drives three hours each way to an auto show to “discuss the possibility of ordering” a car which will sell out the moment it hits the shores. Did you drive three hours each way to “discuss the possibility of ordering” your A3? Of course not. You called your dealer. So stop being the biggest fucking whiner in North America and call your dealer, just like you did for your other cars.

I hope your little handjob from the BMW guy turned you into a BMW owner. We’re struggling desperately as a company to avoid being associated with people like you.

I’ve read stories from rape survivors with less angst, self-pity, and sheer terror than the ridiculous shit you just sent me.

If the idea of being let into a car that other people can’t get into is enough to get you this worked up, perhaps you’d be interested in joining other exclusive groups such as the “North American Hunting Club”, the “Columbia Records Club”, and the “Texas Automotive Writers Association”.

Now fuck off.


A Guy Sitting At Johan’s Desk

P.S. Carbon ceramic brakes? Way to announce you won’t be tracking it, you limp-dick.

Of course, Audi did no such thing. Instead, they sent him an apologetic letter and brought an RS5 to the guy’s miniscule tract house, along with the complete lineup of S-cars: S6, S7, S8, and so on. Mr. Smith took perhaps the worst cameraphone video on record of the cars and commenced bragging about it everywhere his Internet would reach. When he was called out on the potential contrast between his vehicle choices and his modest home, Smith talked about being a “wealth manager” and claimed to own other homes as well before informing everyone that, in his wealth-managing opinion, an RS5 was a better investment than a home.

You can find the whole thing on QuattroWorld. Speaking as someone who owned an S5 before Mr. Smith did, I’m depressed by the idea of being even remotely associated with someone who thinks like this. Why does everything in this world have to be “upscale” and “exclusive”? Isn’t it just enough to be excited about a car and want to buy it? Do we all require special treatment, which then by definition won’t be special anyway, in the year 2012?

Audi did have the RS5 open for press days at the auto shows, so I can share with you the sacred knowledge about the RS5 which Mr. Smith was so eager to get: Inside, it’s about the same as an S5. That’s because IT’S THE SAME CAR. If Mr. Smith was hoping to find extra seats, a Mitsubishi “Twin Stick” transfer box, or Nicki Minaj inside, he was no doubt disappointed. If he was expecting to find different badges and trim, well then, THAT’S WHAT YOU GET.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to write a letter to Dan Auerbach complaining that my last download of a Black Keys record wasn’t accompanied by a house concert and a chance to play the guitar part in “Thickfreakness”.

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56 Comments on “Audi “Goes The Extra Mile” To Help A Man With Low Self-Esteem Win The Internet...”

  • avatar

    This quite angers me old chap. I’m off to smoke my old world pipe, cross my arms, and look out at my drab estate through a massive window.

  • avatar

    While I don’t condone his behavior, I understand where he’s coming from. I go to the show to see cars I can’t see on the dealer lots. And car shows are great places to try out dozens of cars at once with minimum sales hassles.

    But I’ll never understand the manufacturers’ choices. At a recent show, Ford elected not to show the new Escape even though it had already previewed in LA, Chicago, etc. A couple of years ago, Bentley had all their cars open. There was quite a backup for baller photo ops. Yet at the same show, Infiniti locked all their cars. Seriously, I can put my grubby paws on a $350,000 car but not a $25,000 car?

    • 0 avatar

      This even happens at dealers. Many times, I’ve gone to look at common cars, a Focus or something, and the doors are locked on the showroom floor. Smart of them, or I’d have stolen everything of value in that Focus, especially those gold plated floormats and latinum engraved shift knob. That’s right. Star Trek precious metals.

    • 0 avatar

      Sure, imagine how much platinum there is in one of those Platinum edition Foci??? No wonder they locked em all up, you cant trust anyone these days!

      Seriously though, this sounds like something I would have done… when I was 18 and a total douchebag. Me and my friends would go to dealers, telling some story about mom buying us a car for graduation, and we had to test drive the new Mustang GT, or Firebird Formula, to make sure we liked it. Actually I am still shocked at just how many dealers fell for it, we suceeded more than we failed, beating the holy crap out of whatever hot car we could wrangle that day.

      I am sure this guy was all set to order his RS5, just like I am sure he really owns 3 other Audis too. Did you see any in the crappy video? Not even in the garage, where the RS5 was (why??).

      • 0 avatar

        Truth be told the salesman can usually tell within a few minutes if someone is a serious buyer or just out to test drive something. Little clues in the questions asked, general demeanor, car pulled up in, etc, can add up.

        That being said, unless it means putting off an actual customer who is there to buy a car I’m willing to indulge the serial test drivers within reason (i.e. I’m not going to throw someone the keys to a GT500 and tell them to have fun, but I’ll ride along while you try out a Mustang GT or SVT Raptor).

        Every now and again we get surprised and someone who gives the line about ‘my parent/wife/boss/etc is going to buy me this for my birthday/anniversary/graduation/bonus’ actually comes back with said benefactor and buys the car. It doesn’t happen often, but it happens enough that it’s worth giving someone the benefit of the doubt in most cases.

      • 0 avatar

        I was denied a test drive of a Challenger R/T. Keep in mind, I pulled up in an immaculate 2008 Mustang GT. I was told there would be no test drive unless I agreed to pay $2k over sticker price due to the rarity of the car. I tried to point out that there were about eight Challengers of the same trim in a line right next to the one I was asking about. They were so close together, I could have pretended they were rollerskates if they had sunroofs. I suppose in car dealer talk, “eight” of them with no other buyers in sight means “rare.”

        That was the only time I’ve ever been turned down for a test drive.

      • 0 avatar

        I am under no dellusions that we were so suave to have pulled the wool over those guys eyes. And that was back in the late 80s to early 90s… maybe dealers were just cooler back then…

    • 0 avatar

      I tried to read & comprehend this story, but my mind kept drifting back to the fact that how easily accepted it is that a smallish mid-sized car like the RS5 costs $90,000.

      I realize that people buy these, but I also realize that with the exception of a very few vehicles which turn out to be collectibles and akin to art in terms of auctionable value, cars are perhaps one of the worst destroyers of wealth that people purchase (but it’s only because most who purchase them have to, given our transport system, the manner by which our cities are planned, the lack of efficient and clean mass transport, and our vast geographic territory and suburbia).

      And yes, I also realize the RS5 and S5 are performance oriented cars with nice fit and finish and reams of new technology built into the drivetrain and motor.

      But maybe the fact that there are so many bankruptcies filed each year in the U.S. has to do with so many people wanting to punch way above their weight class (and in the pursuit of things that mean so little, no less).

      If I was worth 9 figures, I’d still find it hard to justify a purchase of a car like this for anything remotely near that price, instead opting for a nearly (or maybe completely) as well built car (that’s as or more reliable), for half (or less) the price, even if it may be 2 seconds slower from 0-60 and not handle as well (or maybe handle better).

      But maybe that’s why I don’t have any debt, and probably won’t at any point. And maybe that’s why there are so many ‘real housewives’ and ‘real hedge fund managers’ and real ‘former professional athletes’ and ‘entertainers,’ some of whom were once worth 360 million, that burned it all up.

    • 0 avatar
      Vance Torino

      I always thought that it was just us Midwesterners at the Columbus Auto Show that couldn’t touch German luxury cars. BMW doesn’t even show up, usually.

      (March 15-18 at Columbus, Ohio convention center, BTW)

      Yet Kelly BMW and Midwestern Auto Group somehow never lack for new fashion victims/lease fodder.

      Columbus is still good enough for Arnold, however…

  • avatar

    “in his wealth-managing opinion, an RS5 was a better investment than a home.”


  • avatar

    Jack, it’s never too late for the Black Keys hook-up. If you get on that request, maybe they’ll bring you up on stage during their concert Sunday night here in Columbus.

  • avatar

    “Of course, Audi did no such thing. Instead, they sent him an apologetic letter and brought an RS5 to the guy’s miniscule tract house, along with the complete lineup of S-cars: S6, S7, S8, and so on.”

    What_da_heck?? Does the president of Audi USA do this on a regular basis? That person must have other qualities not mentioned that made Audi’s president especially interested.

    However, at the Portland Auto Show, on its first day I got the pleasure of sitting in an R8, though getting __out__ of it was an exercise in contortion. Not to worry…a few hours later at the same show Audi had erected barriers around that same R8 to make sure nobody got near it.

    Then again, this lowly person who often wrote to Bob Lutz’s blog was (along with 100 other blog posters) transported by GM to Detroit and back for a 2-day presentation of GM design centers, the VOLT plant and the Milford test track experience (we didn’t get to drive the VOLT).

  • avatar

    “Of course, Audi did no such thing.”

    Damn, I thought it was a real reply!!!

    Why even bother going to a show?

    Just read the Robb Report and buy what they say.

  • avatar

    It’s ironic, traditionally the “BMW guys” are labeled as the d-bags as opposed to the “Audi guys” who are viewed as unassuming, quiet enthusiasts. The last decade or so, those labels have completely reversed in my experience and observation.

    • 0 avatar
      NTI 987

      If you watch Top Gear regularly, you’ll learn that the buyers of BMWs and Audis have swapped preferences: “all the cocks [are] now buying Audis rather than BMWs” (

  • avatar

    I’m surprised that Audi didn’t do a little more due diligence before trucking roughly half a million $ worth of product to some random place. I’m sure the person at Audi who signed the authorization to do so, is embarrassed by those pictures.

    And I think it would have made sense to give this guy an Audi Driving Experience in an RS5 instead. Flying this guy to an “experience” day in Sonoma would be cheaper than what they did.

  • avatar

    wow, that’s.. depressing. the cold, gray outdoor weather, the whole being in the middle of Wisconsin thing. maybe, i dunno, i have my priorities wrong.. but I’d much rather live somewhere warm in a house with some sort of character than spend (read: be enslaved with a giant loan) 90k on a car, ostensibly to impress yourself and others.

    i’m sure he’s also the charming sort that goes to all these events wearing Audi clothing. i usually hate using this term, but wow what a gross handjob all around, here.

  • avatar

    I don’t see what’s wrong with a little uhm expansion of the truth sometimes. I wear a really nice Rolex “copy” and I spray-painted my Visa Card black and it fools the ladies everytime. When I take them to the apartment, I tell them it’s a rental property that I’m crashing in while the marble floors are being replaced at the big house. Explaining that really rich guys drive Civics to avoid kidnappers works too.

    So what smart wealth manager wouldn’t do those things? Just explain that you’re living in a $100K tract home because all your capital is tied up in “Island-sourced Organic Peruvian Nitrate” and they’ll roll a truckload of Audi’s up to the door every time.

  • avatar

    Well Audi, you’ve now met the personification of all the wonderful brand attributes you’ve infused your 4 shiny rings with. Hope one of em isn’t a Prince Albert. Then again, it probably is.

  • avatar

    You’re just jealous because you blew all your cash on whiskey and hookers
    Arguably a better investment than a house.

  • avatar

    Two mildly-off-topic points:

    1) Easily-incensed LSE douchebag or not,

    It’s nice to see a company ACTUALLY GIVING A_ FU**_ about their customers.
    (ok; -or at least appearing to do so)

    There are WAAAY too many businesses that just don’t give a crap, think ‘the customer is always wrong’, instead of right; and hire people with bad manners who will be doing customer-facing work.

    +++every time I go to a brick-&-mortar, and have to deal with that 70% of the CS workforce, I think: “This is why I shop online.”

    2) It’s always funny the idea different people have of what it is to be wealthy.

    I don’t know when it was. ***Perhaps something for TTAC’s further investigation & an article.

    *But a long time ago, if somebody had a certain car, it meant that they could afford to Actually Buy that car.

    And when you went to their house; Yup, it looked exactly what you’d imagine someone driving -that- car would live in as a residence.

    Family friend owned a Jag. House? Small gorgeous Tudor in a swanky town.

    Another family friend had a Merc and a Ferrari. House? Larger, immaculate Italianate/Beaux-Arts manor-size house + grounds in yet another swanky town.

    –Anyway, maybe it was a Leasing Boom or something, that happened in the late 80s, early 90s???

    who knows…

    So: Funny how a swanky car these days doesn’t mean slumming at Marble House;
    -it means $599 a month on overextended credit,
    and communicates almost nothing of congruency in finance.

    • 0 avatar

      Sorry, this isn’t Audi giving a damn about their customers, it’s a publicity stunt. And kind of a weak one, although it seems to be generating hits. How supportive are they when it comes to warranty claims? That’s my yardstick.

  • avatar

    “Dear Mr. Smith,”…
    and then I can’t even remember what was written. I think I laughed so hard I developed amnesia.
    Who am I?

  • avatar

    At the NY Auto Show, Ford products have always had closed cars. Sit in the SL, sit in the 5, sit in the Camaro, but no Ford/Lincoln products. Oddly, you could still sit in Volvo who was right next to Ford when they were ‘together’. The only other exhibits that wouldn’t allow you were Ferrari, Rolls, and Porsche, and Porsche would if you asked nicely.

    I fully understand a dealer not wanting to grant a test drive of a very destroyable car to some punter who just turns up off the street, no matter how worthy their existing ride.

  • avatar

    Jack, as usual you gave me a good laugh with your reinterpreted letter.

    I agree 100% on the criticism of this guy for driving 3+ hours to see a car. Moreover, Audi Clubs across the country in conjunction with good dealerships will hold members-only events for product launches. In the past they’ve done this for the R8, the S5, the B8 A4, etc. That’s the best time to get up close and personal with some of the more rare models – all without having to deal with the unwashed masses. They’re usually nicely catered affairs and the guys there are generally car buffs and Audi fans dating back 30+ years. Each event I’ve attended has had a great crowd.

    THAT ALL SAID – I really do have to applaud Audi of America for stepping up like this. The amount of good press they’ve received for this gesture far outweighs the cost and inconvenience to ship a few cars to this guy’s (admittedly undersized) homestead.

    I agree with Jack that I really don’t want Audi to start attracting the same kinds of douches that BMW attracts (honestly, one of the reasons why I may be tempted by a new Bimmer – but just can’t convince myself to buy one – and I freely admit that it irritates me that I have this nagging thought).

    All in all, seriously, this was a very nice gesture by Audi and wins them lots of points and press during the auto show season. Well played by both parties – everyone wins on this one, including us, who get a good chuckle thanks to Baruth’s lambast.

  • avatar

    My mums Godparents are wealthy enough that a large building at the university is named after them. They drove an early 90s Lesabre for well over a decade. Which is what the really rich tend to do anyways.

    • 0 avatar
      Byron Hurd

      I detour through a fairly well-to-do neighborhood along my commute somewhat frequently. Nothing but Corollas, Camrys, and Jeep Wranglers, with the occasional Tahoe or Explorer thrown in. I think I’ve seen one Lexus and an older Benz wagon.

    • 0 avatar


      Have you read ‘The Millionaire Mind?’

      The most owned vehicles, far and away, by millionaires (whether 7 or 9 figures) are well worn, domestic iron like Buick LeSabres & Ford Tauruses and the TTAC beloved Mercury Grand Marquis (panther platform).

      The single most popular vehicle owned by true millionaires? Ford F-150 pickups (again, well worn).

      I won’t say it’s a perfect rule, but I swear that I’d bet that 9 out 10 of my clients who drive a car costing more than $70,000 (up to and including the Bentleys) inevitable end up filing BK or otherwise losing it all.

      I see all kinds of financial douchebaggery, but driving cars that cost more than one’s home, or leasing cars that have a monthly nut that’s more than the apartment rent, takes the cake.

      • 0 avatar
        CA Guy

        “I see all kinds of financial douchebaggery, but driving cars that cost more than one’s home, or leasing cars that have a monthly nut that’s more than the apartment rent, takes the cake.”

        If you don’t want to be further offended, stay away from Southern California, especially the west side of LA and the beach cities. Here, the underground garages of even the lowliest apartments are filled with Mercedes (especially C-Class – as common as fleas on a stray dog), BMWs, Audis, etc. The younger the tenant, the more likely they are to drive such a car. If they are female, the chances of driving a C-Class skyrocket. Granted, the leases on some of these models are going to be lower than the rent in SoCal but still a much higher percentage of these folks’ income than should be spent on a car to be seen in.

  • avatar

    Jeez, Jack, does no good deed go unpunished around here? You’re saying that the customer should have been smacked for asking a favor, Call him impatient, call him naive, but he’s just showing the kind of enthusiasm that draws most of us to auto shows and car blogs.

    The bitchy tone of this article is so far over the top, I wonder why I read past the by-line. Would it kill you to say that Audi was very, very nice to this guy and leave it at that?

  • avatar

    Was it even proven that he owned the other VWs, I mean “Audis” he claimed?

    I might not have three Audis, but at least a I have a decent home on a decent little bit of land instead of some cheapo pre-fab piece of particle board shit on a 1/8th acre in some degenerating neighborhood.

    Sorry, back on topic. Audi pulled a nice publicity stunt there, and even if it was just a PR move, it was a good one. It’s just that douchebags who spend every dime they have, just to make everybody else think they’re somebody (and who act accordingly) annoy me greatly.

  • avatar

    So if I write a butthurt letter to an auto exec about how I am a “potetial buyer” and drop some dubious statements as to how I own one or more of their products, or more likely had it reposessed by the bank because despite my claims of being a “wealth manager” I am on the verge of bankruptcy and squatting in a foreclosed home with meth addicts, they will send some of their most desirable flagship models to my bank-owned subdivision and leave me to play with 100k of car?

    Well, then, I felt very offended that the local BMW dealer wouldn’t let me or my 3 welfare babies in the new M3.

    Off to write a letter!

  • avatar


    Just FYI – If you actually read the letter you would realize I never asked Mr. de Nysschen for anything. At the show I really wanted to see if placing the order to step up from Prestige Pkg STaSIS S5 was worth it. I realize now I should have taken more time with my orignal post on and apoligize for the poor quality video clips, pics, and format. I had no idea they were bringing the entire s-car fleet and RS5 from the auto show to my house.

    Bottom line – Audi is providing world class customer service.

    If you did your homework you would realize there are only 350 RS5’s coming to the US, so driving to the dealer is not an option. (Nor is bright lime green/brown interior an option like your most recently leased A5)

    I have placed my RS5 order to take delivery in July. I will send you some professional pictures when it arrives.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Don’t bother. If I want “professional photos” of a car that looks exactly like every other RS5 in the country, I’ll look at this thing called the Internet.

  • avatar

    Recently, I had to buy a replacement car for my dying truck and used that as the beginning of any communication with the sales guy.

    My Mom was also with me too, as she did the driving and I did the shopping (I came down by bus) and was simply doing reconnaissance to get a feel for what’s out there in my price range.

    Got to one Honda dealer to see what they had in the way of used cars in my price range and they had 2 that not only fit my price criteria, but were hatchback (one a micro van) and were more fuel efficient too. In discussing my needs, he shows me a 2003 Mazda Protege5 a nice black on black hatchback in my price range and after looking at it, noting it had leather etc he asked if I’d like to take it for a spin, I thought about it for a moment and said, yes. He got the keys and brought it up to the door while we waited out of the drizzle and he said, take your time, there is no rush. Mom got in the passenger seat, I behind the wheel, after getting it all adjusted, we drove off. the sales guy didn’t come along.

    What he was doing was letting the car sell itself, and it did but I had to check out one other car first, a KIA Spectra at another dealer, but it turned out to have sold already but did check out a 2007 Versa, it didn’t impress (that’s right after having driven the Mazda) so went back and let the sales guy know I was interested.

    Mom and I had been to the credit union as we needed to put her on the loan, just in case per request from the CU.

    In the end, I DID get the Mazda – and a loan as I had to dump my truck sooner than planned. Apparently, with a leaking timing cover, I’d just had driven it to the end, though still running and needed to replace, so bought the Mazda that weekend, loan details were finished up the following week and that was back in late January.

    It was all because the car just felt right in more ways than one.

  • avatar

    I couldn’t sit in an RS5 at the Pittsburgh Auto Show, either. I drove 20 minutes and paid 6 bucks for parking.

    The only Audi I ever owned was an 02 VW Passat, which cured me of any passion for ‘German engineering’. So I didn’t ask for a private Audi demonstration.

    What I really wanted to sit in was the 2013 Dodge Dart. Should I write a letter to Chrysler?

  • avatar

    Jack’s letter was kind of funny as a one off satire, but I guess I don’t understand all the personal attacks (or Jack’s snippy response to the guy). So the guy likes Audis, was disappointed (for whatever reason) he didn’t get to the see the one at the show he really wanted to see, and he wrote a letter. BFD. The only reason this is news is because Audi did something so extraordinarily above and beyond that it got everyone’s attention. That’s the story. The rest, I don’t get. Maybe he spends all his money on cars instead of a house? Choice I would make – no – but who cares? Does it just make everyone feel better to castigate him? I just don’t get it…

    • 0 avatar

      I think the reason he got so much backlash is because everything about the situation just screams “world class DB.” No one likes a DB, as you can tell from the overwelming majority of comments.

      Just getting pissed off enough to write a letter because they didnt have the RS5 open is a total DB move anyways, but everything in the letter makes him sound like an even bigger DB. Listing the cars he owns, the clubs he is a member of, and the intention to order an RS5 at an auto show IF ONLY they had let him sit in it… DB move. Posting the crappy video… DB move. Especially when the house in the video costs around the same as said car he is supposedly ordering?? Extra DB move.

      Now lets for a minute say this guy is legit… he really owns $100k+ or so worth of Audi product already, and he is truly attempting to decide if upgrading from his “Prestige Pkg STaSIS S5” (and if this is how he describes his car it just reinforces my opinion) to the extremely limited production RS5 is “worth it”. Well any sane normal person already knows that of course its not worth it. The only people who buy those cars are rich DB Audi fans who want to show off to thier other DB buddies how they bought the most expensive A5 available. Sorry, I meant “lease”, since no one buys them. Its a poser car… for DBs. And worst of all, its not even that good of a poser car, since it looks practically identical to the base model A5 with the GTI engine. If he can really afford the RS5, then he already made up his mind and was going to order one. Seeing it and sitting in it at the car show wouldn’t have changed that. MAYBE driving one would have, but he had no intention of doing that anyway.

      So why write the letter??? For the same reasons I went to car dealers when I was 18 and tried to test drive cars I could never afford… because I was a DB. Oh, and yea, it does make me feel better to castigate him.

  • avatar

    So what was this piece all about — was there really anybody left who didn’t know Jack Baruth can be a grade-A first-class arsehole when he really wants to?

    So what? Who can’t? Even I could, I think, if I wanted to.

    So WTF was this good for?

  • avatar

    Crud. Video removed by user. HMMMMMMMMMM

    But I’m curious, which car sits outside? The S5, A6, or A3? It’s only a two-car garage.

    Oh, it must be at the other house with “twice the square feet” of the one he’s renting!

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