Sales and Marketing
The Volkswagen Group’s unique product portfolio comprises twelve successful brands, including innovative financial services.
Brand diversity in the Volkswagen Group
At the Volkswagen Passenger Car brand, what the customer wishes is always the focus of what we do when it comes to developments and decisions. This way we ensure that the automotive innovations and solutions that we offer meet the needs of the customers, and are at the same time affordable. This is our competitive advantage: based on this, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand aims to become the most innovative volume manufacturer with the best quality in each class in the medium to long term. Against the backdrop of the emissions issue, our goal of acting responsibly and at the same time offering innovative automobiles with instrinsic value has assumed even greater significance. We at Volkswagen are therefore doing everything in our power to restore confidence and to continue to convince our customers of German engineering and the reliability of the brand.
“Vorsprung durch Technik” is not just a slogan for Audi; it is an active brand promise that is delivered throughout the world, making Audi one of the most highly desired brands in the premium segment. Its objective is to become the most successful brand in this segment. To achieve this, Audi relies heavily on its progressive image, high-value products and sporty character. Audi’s innovative engineering solutions and emotional design language have won it numerous honors and awards.
Intelligent concepts and a good value proposition have made ŠKODA a very successful brand in Europe and China. The “Simply Clever” slogan combines forward-looking functionality with an impressive space concept that is technically simple but offers sophisticated and practical features.
Design, passion, quality and ongoing evolution – these are the distinctive characteristics of the youthful, dynamic Spanish SEAT brand that is aiming for stronger growth, particularly in Europe. SEAT’s goal of combining technological precision and superb engineering with emotional design is expressed in its “TECHNOLOGY TO ENJOY” slogan.
Sports car manufacturer Porsche’s brand values are a combination of opposites: exclusivity and acceptance, tradition and innovation, performance and suitability for everyday use, design and functionality. Porsche’s philosophy is “to achieve maximum output from minimum input”. From the very beginning, Porsche has focused on finding intelligent ways to convert performance into speed – and success – not just with more horsepower, but also with more ideas.
Exclusivity, elegance and power – these are the defining qualities of our Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini brands in the luxury vehicle segments. They round off the Volkswagen Group’s brand diversity in the passenger cars segment.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles stands for superior mobility with its three core values – reliability, economy and partnership. The brand offers a range of different transport solutions based on the highest levels of engineering. The vehicles are tailored to meet the individual transport needs of customers in trade and industry, as well as civil authorities and service providers. Private customers value the brand’s family-friendly MPVs and recreational motor homes.
The Swedish Scania brand’s core values are “customer first”, “respect for the individual” and “quality”. This successful company has been manufacturing high-performance trucks and buses featuring extremely innovative technology for over 100 years. The brand offers its customers efficient transport solutions backed by excellent service offerings and financial services.
Customer focus, enthusiasm for the product and efficiency are the core values at MAN. As well as trucks and buses, the company is a leading manufacturer of diesel engines, turbomachinery, turnkey power plants and special gear units.
Ducati is one of the most famous manufacturers of premium motorcycles. Its emotionally charged products thrill the Italian brand’s customers with their premium quality craftsmanship, uncompromising performance and challenging dynamics.
Volkswagen Financial Services provides the Volkswagen Group’s private and business customers with the right products and services across all vehicle segments. It is the key to mobility for our customers around the world.
Digitalization in Group sales
In sales too, we use the opportunities that increasing digitalization offers. Our actions are guided by a clearly defined strategy that allows extensive cooperation between the brands to create the greatest possible synergies.
Digitalization will make a decisive contribution to creating a completely new product experience for our customers characterized by seamless integration of the customer across all points of interaction. In doing so, we open up new options and business models – mobility and other services – around the connected vehicle. It will increasingly become an integral component of the customer’s digital world of experience. We take care to make all processes transparent so that customers always retain control of their own data.
Moreover, we also gear our internal processes and structures to the speed of digital innovation. The result is new forms of cooperation, a more intensive relationship with the international start-up scene, a consolidation of venture-capital expertise as a form of “development support” for innovative ideas and business models, and new lean systems and cloud-based IT solutions.
Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty
The Volkswagen Group’s sales activities focus consistently on turning our customers into even more satisfied customers – this is our top priority. With the aid of the digitalization offensive in the Group, we are putting even more emphasis on customer requirements and service; this offensive will sustainably shape our business.
The Group’s brands regularly ascertain customer satisfaction levels, focusing on products and services. They derive new measures from the survey results to achieve even greater customer satisfaction.
Measured in terms of customer satisfaction with their products, the Audi and Porsche brands are among the leaders in the core European markets in comparison to other Group brands and their competitors. The other brands in the Group also score higher than competing brands. All Group brands achieve figures at or above the level of the competition in customer satisfaction with dealers.
Customers are loyal to our brands and trust them when we meet, or better still exceed their expectations of our products and services. The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, for example, has maintained a high level of customer loyalty in its core European markets for several years in a row. The loyalty of Audi, Porsche and ŠKODA customers has likewise kept these brands in the upper rankings in comparison with competitors for a number of years.
As a consequence of the emissions issue, studies showed a slight drop in the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand image and customer satisfaction with the products in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The Group sales structure
The Volkswagen Group’s multibrand structure helps promote the independence of its brands. Nevertheless, we use overarching sales activities to increase sales volumes and market share, and to increase sales efficiency while cutting costs and improving earnings contributions.
In the reporting period we focused particularly on dealer profitability: this was achieved firstly with cost-cutting programs and secondly by expanding the business volume for each dealer. As part of our distribution network strategy, which calls for us to work with strong partners and leverage the potential of all business fields, but also in light of the difficult economic situation in some countries, we optimized the structure of the distribution network. The focus was on a close working relationship with dealers and their profitability. We use Group companies to manage our wholesale business in over 20 markets. A central department makes sales activities more transparent and more profitable. It creates synergies between the different brands and is key to us achieving the goals of our Strategy 2018. This makes it possible for the remaining wholesale companies to learn quickly and efficiently from the Group-wide benchmarking process and from the best practices adopted by individual companies. A focus for the reporting period was optimizing our national sales companies’ logistics costs.
Fleet customer business
The business relationships with fleet customers are often of a long-term nature. This customer group guarantees more stable vehicle sales than the private customer segment in a volatile environment. The Volkswagen Group has an established base of business fleet customers in Germany and the rest of Europe in particular. Our extensive product offering enables us to satisfy their individual mobility needs from a single source.
In 2015 the emissions issue led to uncertainty among those customers for whom CO2 figures in particular are decisive purchase reasons. There was no reported impact on new vehicle registrations in the fleet customer business in 2015, however.
Used car business
The used car business is our dealer organization’s fourth key source of income after the new car, services and parts businesses. We ensure the profitability of the used car business by providing efficient processes and systems and highly qualified employees, as well as clear guidelines and management tools.
We focus on professional used car management at both the wholesale and retail levels. In order to be able to provide a suitable range of products and services, we are systematically expanding our demand-oriented offering of relatively new used cars. Customer-centric financial services are the basis for attractive product packages in this respect. In addition, we further strengthened our autonomous used car brands and rolled them out internationally so as to ensure that our offerings also meet our customers’ needs. Cross-brand activities enable us to implement internal examples of best practice throughout the Group, benefiting from economies of scale and leveraging synergies.
We established and standardized processes especially for used cars at all distribution levels, enhanced and increasingly harmonized the underlying IT infrastructure, and introduced uniform management performance indicators.
To ensure long-term success in our used car business, we attach considerable importance to stable residual values – in particular in light of the emissions issue. We have set up system-based reporting functions for this purpose.
After-sales and service
In after-sales, the timely provision of genuine parts and individual service are instrumental in ensuring passenger car customer satisfaction. The Volkswagen Group ensures the global supply of genuine parts through an after-sales network with over 120 of our own warehouses. Our efficient supplier organization enables supply of almost all service centers worldwide within 24 hours. Our passenger vehicle brands’ genuine parts and the expertise of our service centers represent the highest level of quality and ensure the safety and value retention of our customers’ vehicles.
The Volkswagen Group regards itself as a complete provider of all parts and services relevant to customers in the after-sales business and ensures the worldwide mobility of its customers jointly with its partners. The partner businesses offer the entire portfolio of services, for example oil and tire changes, inspection, maintenance and repair, in all vehicle classes. We are continuously expanding our range of tailored services in order to improve convenience for our customers and customer satisfaction. For example, express-service offerings and our German and non-German partner businesses’ Clever Repair program enable time-saving repair. With some Group brands’ economy packages, our customers get an attractive complete package in line with the vehicle’s age. The dialog reception and the safety checks guarantee a comprehensive service for vehicles and customers. In the event of a flat tire or an accident, the Group brands’ mobility guarantees ensure our customers’ mobility and the repair of their vehicles.
Around the world, our commercial vehicles business also stands for products of the highest quality and for customer proximity. Fuel efficiency, maintenance and operating costs, the residual resale value of vehicles, and the purchase price – these are critical buying criteria for our customers, in addition to availability. We are continually extending both our after-sales activity and our comprehensive service offering, and these play an important role in increasing customer satisfaction.
Scania is adding services to its range of trucks, buses and engines that guarantee fuel efficiency, reliability and good vehicle availability. Among these are the Scania Rent Truck & Trailer service that helps to overcome short-term fleet capacity problems. Scania Parts and the Genuine Parts Warranty ensure that most replacement parts are available within 24 hours throughout most of Europe. Driver behavior is the key factor for operating efficiency, service life of tires and parts, as well as traffic safety. Drivers can learn to drive more efficiently and safely at the Scania Academy. Scania’s workshop service and service contracts offer customers a high degree of safety in addition to consistently high quality.
MAN provides packages with connected services optimally geared to customer requirements – under the MAN Solutions brand – in order to lower the total operating costs of the vehicles. These packages include maintenance and repair contracts, for example, in conjunction with MAN’s proactive maintenance management service, MAN ServiceCare. Active data exchange between vehicles, customers and the MAN service points is handled via the MAN TeleMatics integrated onboard module. MAN ServiceCare enables operators to schedule servicing work at the most suitable times, increasing the availability of their vehicles. The MAN services are available in a strong, global after-sales network with 1,470 highly qualified service points. In addition to its genuine parts, MAN also offers professionally prepared reconditioned parts (ecoline) and thus enables economically viable repair of the customer’s vehicle in the accustomed quality.
The e-mobility challenge for sales
The Volkswagen Group’s e-mobility strategy covers the development of customer-centric products and business models to complement its range of electric vehicles. For example, we provide specific solutions in the field of mobile online services for electric vehicle customers or offer the Charge&Fuel card via Volkswagen Financial Services AG, combining the functions of a fuel and charge card.
When selecting products and partners, we take great care to obtain the greatest possible customer benefits and generate maximum synergies for the Group, while, at the same time, reinforcing the identity of our brands.
We also provided additional sales and after-sales services to our electric vehicle customers, such as arranging for customer-specific charging infrastructure solutions and services. We are further expanding skills in retail – geared to the challenges of e-mobility. This includes the further transferal of battery repair expertise to the individual markets.