VW to usher in new era of buying cars as it restructures sales model

Time 10:04 am, October 17, 2018

VOLKSWAGEN is shaking up its global sales model with its dealers.

The new programme will be launched in Europe in April 2020, and will aim to provide seamless individual round-the-clock support for customers, who will have a unique Volkswagen customer ID.

The manufacturer and the European Dealer Council presented their vision for the future world of Volkswagen’s 5,400 dealers and service partners as well as their 54,000 employees in Europe in Berlin yesterday.

Each year, the brand intends to introduce about five million customers around the world to what it called ‘the new world of mobility’ and to offer them individual services on the basis of their ID.

The car-buying experience itself will also change, with online sales to be massively expanded and direct sales to become possible. Five new sales and service formats such as city showrooms or pop-up stores are to be added. The sales organisation will also become more flexible.

Jürgen Stackmann, board member for sales, said: ‘This is the right step at the right time. We have adopted this approach because our business environment is changing at a breathtaking pace in view of new technologies, changed customer expectations and new market players.’

He added that Volkswagen was ‘outstandingly well positioned’, with qualified sales and service partners, an established logistics network, a strong product portfolio and extremely loyal customers.

A glimpse of the future: With the new sales model, the business of a Volkswagen dealer will become much more diverse

The new sales model is being driven by the progressive digitising and connectivity of the Volkswagen fleet, which it said will reach a new level with the introduction of its new and fully connected electric ID. family of vehicles in 2020. From then on, VW customers with a personal ID number will be at the centre of a fully networked world of mobility. ‘This way, we will learn more about our customers’ needs and will be able to develop optimum tailor-made offerings for each individual customer through intelligent data management,’ said Stackmann.

For example, vehicles will be kept up to date by over-the-air software updates via the mobile phone network. Vehicles will notify the dealer that the next service is due via the predictive maintenance app. There will also be services beyond customers’ vehicles, such as We Share – the planned car sharing offering from Volkswagen.

Customers will be able to choose from the entire model range and complete their car purchase with their selected dealer online. For Volkswagen, it will offer the possibility of direct sales for the first time.

People who prefer a personal contact with the brand and the dealer will have a choice of different points of contact.

Matti Pörhö, president of the European Dealer Council, which represents the interests of Volkswagen dealer councils in Europe, said: ‘We believe in the new business model as it will strengthen dealers’ entrepreneurial responsibility.’ He praised the ‘fair and open co-operation with Volkswagen’, saying: ‘We actively participated in shaping the business model right from the start.’

Stackmann and Pörhö symbolically signed the new contract that will govern relations between the manufacturer and its dealers in Europe from April 2020. All European dealers are expected to have signed it by the end of November.

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