Sales and Marketing
We regard ourselves as an innovative and sustainable mobility provider for all commercial and private customers worldwide – with a unique product portfolio encompassing twelve successful brands and innovative financial services.
Together with their sales partners and importers, our passenger car brands agreed on a procedure for integrating state-of-the-art products and services into the sales network. The priority thereby is the safe handling of customer data and the way in which this is processed for digital products and services or in connection with the vehicle purchase. The legal requirements for handling customer data have been tightened in many countries. At the same time, new Group vehicles that are permanently connected to the internet are about to be launched. We are increasingly investing in distribution systems and processes with the goal of further digitalizing and improving the individual customer experience in all distribution channels.
The Volkswagen Group’s financial strength and profitability is attributable to an extensive portfolio of strong brands. The objective of our strategic Best Brand Equity module is to continuously sharpen the brand profiles, demarcate the respective vehicle segments that are served by the brands as clearly as possible and add to them in a targeted way as required. Our aim is to achieve high market saturation with great efficiency and a low level of brand cannibalization. Market positioning is an important element for increasing brand values. To this end, we have established automobile-specific customer segmentation to steer the positioning of our brands which we consistently apply throughout the strategy and product process.
Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty
The Volkswagen Group aims its sales activities at exciting its customers. This is our top priority, as satisfied customers remain loyal to our brands and recommend our products and services to others. In addition to satisfaction with our products and services, we value our customers’ emotional connection to our brands. It is important for us to retain customers and win new ones. To measure our success in this area, we compile and analyze two strategic indicators for the passenger car-producing brands:
- Loyalty rate. Proportion of customers of our passenger car brands who have bought another Group model. Thanks to their faithful customers, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, ŠKODA and Porsche brands have remained in the upper loyalty rankings of the core European markets in comparison with their competitors for a number of years. Following a decrease in the loyalty rates between 2016 and 2018, these figures stabilized for the Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi and Porsche brands and have since risen for ŠKODA and SEAT. Compared to other manufacturer groups, the Volkswagen Group continues to hold a top spot in the core European markets in terms of loyalty.
- Conquest rate. Newly acquired passenger car customers as a proportion of all potential new customers. Here, too, the Volkswagen Group has a top ranking in comparison with competitors, primarily thanks to the good scores achieved by the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand.
In the core European markets, the figures of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand relating to brand image and confidence in the brand stabilized in 2020 above the level for the market as a whole. Porsche remains in top position in the image ranking.
In the financial services business, we use two strategic indicators. The two indicators are currently being revised in light of changes in customer needs and in the product range, the short- and long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the strategic alignment of financial services in the Volkswagen Group:
- Customer satisfaction. A high level of customer satisfaction is one of the key objectives of our financial services activities. Our goal is to satisfy customers completely. This is the reason why we have measured both external and internal customer satisfaction in our markets in recent years.
- Customer loyalty. Trust in and loyalty to our services rely on customer satisfaction with our product range and service. For this reason we ascertained the re-entering contract rates in our markets in past years based on product sales to customers, for financing and lease agreements for repurchases of new Volkswagen Group vehicles.
E-mobility and digitalization in Group Sales
As part of our electrification campaign, we aim to offer our customers worldwide around 70 completely battery-electric vehicles and approximately 60 hybrid models by 2030. This campaign will be complemented by vehicle-related, customer-focused offerings, such as customized charging infrastructure solutions and mobile online services. The Volkswagen Group is thus transforming from an automotive manufacturer into a mobility service provider. This poses new challenges for sales.
We are making highly targeted use of the opportunities of digitalization in sales, which include an improved customer approach. Our actions are guided by a clearly defined strategy that requires extensive cooperation between the brands to achieve the greatest possible synergies. Our aim here is to create a completely new product experience for the customers of our brands – one which impresses with a seamless communication process, from the initial interest in purchasing a vehicle, to servicing and ultimately to the sale of the used car. In doing so, we are opening up new business models relating to every aspect of the connected vehicle – in particular with regard to mobility and other services. Vehicles are becoming an integral part of the customer’s digital world of experience.
We also align our internal processes and structures to the methods and new forms of working created by digital innovation. This results to project teams operating across different business areas, new forms of cooperation, a more intensive relationship with the international start-up scene, a consolidation of venture capital expertise – as a form of supporting innovative ideas and business models – and new lean systems and cloud-based IT solutions.
Fleet customer business
Business relationships with fleet customers are often long-term partnerships. In a volatile environment, this customer group guarantees more stable sales of well-equipped, profitable vehicle models than the private customer segment.
The Volkswagen Group has an established base of business fleet customers, especially in Germany and the rest of Europe. Our extensive product range enables us to satisfy their individual mobility needs from a single source.
In an overall passenger car market in Germany that declined by 19.1% in the reporting year, business fleet customers accounted for 16.2 (14.8)% of total registrations. The Volkswagen Group’s share of this customer segment slipped to 42.1 (44.1)%. Outside Germany, the Group’s share of registrations by fleet customers in Europe was up slightly at 26.5 (25.7)%. This trend shows that fleet customers’ confidence in the Group remains at a high level. We were able to consolidate our strong market position in the fleet customer business in Europe.
After Sales and Service
In addition to individual service, the timely provision of genuine parts is essential to assure passenger car customer satisfaction in After Sales. The genuine parts supplied by our passenger car brands and the expertise of the service centers stand for quality and ensure the safety and value retention of our customers’ vehicles. With our global after sales network including more than 130 of our own warehouses, we are creating the prerequisites to supply almost all our authorized service facilities around the world within 24 hours. We regard ourselves as a complete provider of all products and services relevant to customers in the after sales business. Together with our partners, our mission is to ensure the worldwide mobility of our customers. The partner businesses offer the entire portfolio of services in all vehicle classes. We are continuously expanding our range of tailored services in order to improve convenience for our customers and increase customer satisfaction.
In the Digital After Sales project, we are modernizing processes and IT systems in After Sales. By adopting an approach that focuses product and service development on the specific needs of both dealers and customers, we aim to reduce the time needed for administrative tasks at the dealers through automated, interrelated services and also stabilize existing IT systems and boost efficiency. Innovative digital after-sales services will additionally improve the customer experience.
Around the world, our commercial vehicles business also prides itself on products of quality and on customer focus. Our range of trucks, buses and engines is complemented by services that aim to guarantee fuel efficiency, reliability and wide vehicle availability. Workshop service and service contracts are intended to offer customers a high degree of certainty, in addition to a high level of quality. We are reducing servicing times and costs with a view to the vehicles’ total operating costs and helping to retain their value.
In the Power Engineering segment, we help our customers to secure the availability of machinery with MAN PrimeServ. The global network of more than 100 PrimeServ locations stands for excellent customer focus and offers, among other things, replacement parts of genuine-part quality, qualified technical service and long-term maintenance contracts.