The Volkswagen Group has a unique portfolio with nine successful brands, with which it excites millions of customers year after year. Each brand has an individual, distinctive image. In 2009, we improved the efficiency of our sales force and further sharpened the profile of our brands.
Brand diversity and brand strength
“Innovative”, “providing enduring value” and “responsible” are the three core messages of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand combined in the slogan “Volkswagen – Das Auto”. The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand conveys quality, reliability and German engineering skills worldwide. This profile and the trust customers place in the brand mean it is the first choice for millions when buying a car. Future global brand management activities will continue to revolve around customers’ wishes and preferences, making innovations that are oriented on customer requirements as well as affordable a critical competitive advantage. The goal of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand is to become the most innovative volume manufacturer with the best quality in its specific classes in the medium to long term. Countless technical highlights show that this brand is living up to its claim, such as the pioneering TDI and TSI drive technologies or the direct shift gearbox (DSG), plus the BlueMotion models and the new BlueTDI technology that already complies with the Euro 6 emissions standard due to come into effect in 2014.
The Audi brand with its theme and slogan “Vorsprung durch Technik” is one of the strongest automotive brands in the premium segment. In its mission to become the market leader in this segment, Audi is continuing to rely on its brand image centered around sportiness, high quality and progressiveness. Numerous prominent prizes and awards as well as the outstanding acceptance of the Audi models show that Audi is pursuing this objective with determination and has become a premium brand with a high prestige value. The use of the most innovative technology, a consistent design language and careful brand management are among the main factors that have led to its success.
“Simply clever” – this is the slogan under which Škoda has grown into one of the fastest emerging brands, particularly in Europe. The Škoda brand embodies a combination of intelligent concepts for the use of space, providing technically simple yet sophisticated and practical detailed solutions, plus attractive designs and compelling value for money. The many awards for excellent design as well as sophisticated and innovative engineering that its vehicles have received show that this brand concept is receiving widespread acclaim.
The SEAT brand has chosen the pithy core values “sporty”, “young” and “design-oriented” as it gets back on track. Its models, which have won multiple awards for their outstanding, innovative design, are particularly representative of the SEAT brand image and exemplify the “auto emoción” slogan.
The Bugatti, Bentley and Lamborghini brands round off the wide range of Volkswagen Group brands in the luxury vehicle segments, embodying above all exclusivity, elegance and power.
With a portfolio of vehicles comprising light commercial trucks, large MPVs and motor homes, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles provides a high-performance solution for its customers’ varied transport needs.
At Scania, the core values of “customer first”, “respect for the individual” and “quality” take precedence. Guided by these core values, the over 100-year-old Swedish company manufactures high-performance trucks, buses and engines that feature highly innovative technology, as well as offering its customers a variety of service packages including financial services.
Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty
The Group brands regularly measure the satisfaction of their customers in many countries with the help of specialized questionnaires that concentrate primarily on product and service quality. The results are analyzed and used to develop measures designed to further increase customer satisfaction.
In terms of satisfaction with product quality, the Audi brand occupies a leading position in the core European markets. However, the scores of the other Group brands for overall satisfaction are also encouraging.
Customers who are satisfied with the quality of our products and services are loyal customers. Customers’ confidence in our brands is clearly reflected in the loyalty figures: for example, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand was able to maintain brand loyalty at a high level in its European core markets. Škoda has also ranked among the leaders in terms of brand loyalty for many years. In its commercial fleet customer business, the Volkswagen Group has a strong customer base in Germany and the rest of Europe. The Group’s principal advantage is that its competitive product portfolio can satisfy customers’ individual mobility requirements in a one-stop service. Particularly in Germany, its strong market positioning is supported by Volkswagen Leasing GmbH, whose leasing services and close cooperation with the sales organization give the Group an edge over its competitors.
Sales structure of the Volkswagen Group
The Group’s multibrand structure allows continuous standardization of wholesale and retail processes. Management of the wholesale business, around 80% of which is handled by companies within the Group, has also been successfully established in the emerging markets in recent years. The focus in wholesale and retail on proximity to customers, which is supported by an exclusive brand profile, plays a key role in increasing customer satisfaction. We meet the demand for cross-brand support for fleet customers through key account management. Our dealership partners and wholesalers alike can also leverage cross-brand synergies in this way. By optimizing structures and implementing programs to raise quality in sales and customer service, we further improved the profitability and efficiency of the distribution networks in 2009. Our close working relationship with dealers remains the focus of our distribution network strategy. Its implementation is supported by the conscious use of state-of-the-art communication media and technologies tailored to the specific needs of individual customer groups.
Fleet customer business
Volkswagen Group Fleet International is the central point of contact for the international fleet business with Group brand vehicles. In fiscal year 2009, the processing system designed in previous years for the national fleet customer business was successfully rolled out in the United Kingdom and will now be progressively implemented at all of the Group’s importers. This platform will allow the national fleet customer business to be networked and customers’ varying requirements in the different countries to be depicted transparently as a result. On this basis, the Group will be able to successfully extend the business model to other relevant markets. We have consciously refined the structure of our international fleet network after adding countries from the emerging markets.
Value conservation through efficient remarketing
Efficient marketing of relatively new used cars is a fundamental aspect of the Volkswagen Group’s long-term growth strategy. Our activities are focused on ensuring that the residual value of our vehicles remains stable over time. The resale value of a vehicle is a major factor influencing customer purchase decisions and therefore also determines the competitiveness of our products to a significant extent. To reinforce this competitiveness, it is important to keep vehicle depreciation as low as possible in the long term. To this end, relevant factors such as quality, durability, design and equipment features are taken into account when new models are being developed. The brands’ sales policy also guarantees a constant supply of marketable used cars. This also supports stable residual value by controlling the flow of used cars into suitable sales channels.
What is more, regular customer surveys give us pointers regarding the needs of our customers when buying used vehicles and help us provide a customized range of products and services.
Ecologically sustainable, low-cost mobility is crucial for our long-term success, particularly in growth markets. To be able to make the residual value of vehicles competitive in the long term, efficient used car strategies must be implemented early on in the markets in question. We have already taken steps in this direction in markets such as Russia, Latin America and the United States. Additional growth markets such as India and China will follow shortly.