Right from the product development stage, we aim to identify and rectify quality problems at the earliest possible point, so as to avoid delays to the start of production. As we are using an increasing number of modular components as part of our modular toolkit strategy, it is very important when defects do occur to identify and eliminate the cause of the defect as quickly as possible. We further optimized the processes with which we can prevent these procedural defects at our brands and improved our organizational processes during the reporting period so that we are able to counter the associated risks more effectively.
Increasing technical complexity and the use of the toolkit system in the Group mean that the need for high-grade supplier components of impeccable quality is rising. To ensure the continuity of production, it is also extremely important that our own plants and our suppliers deliver components on time. We ensure long-term quality and supply capability from the very start of the supply chain using a risk management system that we first tested internally and then introduced among suppliers. In this way, Quality Assurance helps to fulfill customer expectations and consequently to boost our Company’s reputation, sales figures and earnings.
Assuring quality is of fundamental importance especially in the Brazilian, Russian, Indian and Chinese markets, for which we develop dedicated vehicles and where local manufacturers and suppliers have been established, particularly as it may be very difficult to estimate regulatory or official decisions. We continuously analyze the conditions specific to each market and adapt quality requirements to them. We counter the local risks we identify by continuously developing promising measures and implementing them locally, thereby effectively preventing quality defects from arising.
Vehicle registration and operation criteria are defined and monitored by national and, in some cases, international authorities. Some countries also have special, and in some cases new, rules aimed at protecting customers in their dealings with vehicle manufacturers. With our established and revised quality assurance processes, we ensure that the Volkswagen Group brands and their products fulfill all applicable requirements and that local authorities receive timely notification of all issues requiring reporting. By doing so, we reduce the risk of customer complaints, administrative fines and other negative consequences.