Sales and Marketing

As part of our future program, we have developed a sales and marketing strategy aimed at exciting customers on a whole new level under the slogan “customer delight”. 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.

We will implement the TOGETHER sales strategy step by step over the coming years. In the focus area of new sales, for example, we are realizing innovative sales and service concepts together with our sales partners. In the focus area of the customer ecosystem, we are implementing platforms for a seamless and safe digital brand experience at all customer touchpoints – this is enabling us to meet ever-growing customer expectations as well as increased data protection standards. In the focus area of steering, we are optimizing how our brands capitalize profitably on market opportunities.

Optimal coverage of markets, customer segments and customer budgets are at the heart of a strategic Group initiative. To this end, we are establishing automobile-specific customer segmentation to steer the positioning of our brands. At the same time, we are examining global markets for potential revenue sources. In 2017, we rolled out this methodology in Europe and China and agreed on the region-specific, customer-oriented brand territories for product positioning. Starting in 2018, the new methodology will be applied in the Volkswagen Group’s product processes; other markets will also be included.

Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty

The Volkswagen Group aims its sales activities at exciting its customers. This is our top priority, as excited 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 collect data on and analyze three strategic indicators for the major passenger car-producing brands:

  • Net promoter score. Proportion of customers who would recommend us to others minus the proportion of customers who would not recommend us. In terms of customers’ willingness to recommend them, the Porsche and ŠKODA brands lead the core European markets when compared to other Group brands and competitors.
  • Loyalty rate. Proportion of customers of our car brands who have bought another Group model. The loyalty of Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi, Porsche and ŠKODA customers has kept these brands in the upper loyalty rankings in comparison with competitors for a number of years. Compared to other manufacturer groups, the Volkswagen Group therefore holds the top spot in terms of loyalty, with a considerable margin over the competition.
  • Conquest rate. Newly acquired passenger car customers as a proportion of all potential new customers. Here, too, we have a top ranking, primarily thanks to the good scores achieved by the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand.

In the core European markets, the downward trend in brand image and brand trust at the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand following the diesel issue did not continue in 2017. Instead, the first signs of recovery were evident. Porsche remains in top position in the image ranking.

We also use a strategic indicator to measure the satisfaction of customers with our products and services in the truck and bus business:

  • Customer satisfaction. In the markets relevant for the Volkswagen Group, we aim to be one of the industry leaders in terms of the satisfaction rate for our commercial vehicle brands. To evaluate these criteria, we use customer satisfaction studies, which delivered positive satisfaction figures in line with our targets in the reporting period.

In the financial services business, we use two strategic indicators:

  • Customer satisfaction. In addition to looking at customer satisfaction with our products, we measure this by examining reviews of our service staff; both aspects are an indicator for our customer and service focus. The results continued their positive trend in 2017. To achieve our goal of very high customer satisfaction throughout the financial services business by 2025, we regularly evaluate what action is needed and how ideas can be shared and implemented across different countries.
  • Customer loyalty. Trust in and loyalty to our services rely on customer satisfaction with our product range and service. The loyalty scores that are regularly calculated based on product sales to our customers are currently impressive proof of customers’ trust in our financial services. Ambitious targets underscore the focus on customers and on fulfilling their needs at Volkswagen Financial Services.

E-mobility and digitalization in Group Sales

By 2025, as part of our Roadmap E, we aim to offer our customers around the world more than 80 new electric models, including around 50 pure battery-driven vehicles and 30 plug-in hybrids. This campaign will be complemented by vehicle-related, customer-focused offers, such as customized charging infrastructure solutions and mobile online services. This is turning the Volkswagen Group from an automotive manufacturer into a mobility service provider, posing completely new sales challenges.

We are making highly targeted use of the opportunities of digitalization in sales. 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 our customers – one which impresses with its seamless customer communications, from the initial interest in purchasing a vehicle, to servicing and ultimately to the sale of the used car. In the process, we are opening up new business models and opportunities in 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 take great care to make all processes transparent so that customers always retain control of their own data.

We also gear our internal processes and structures to the pace of digital innovation. The result is 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 – as well as new lean systems and cloud-based IT solutions.

Fleet customer business

Our business relationships with fleet customers are often long-term partnerships. In a volatile environment, this customer group guarantees more stable vehicle sales than the private customer segment.

The Volkswagen Group has an established base of business fleet customers in Germany and the rest of Europe in particular. Our extensive product range enables us to satisfy their individual mobility needs from a single source.

In fiscal year 2017, the share of fleet customers in total registrations in Germany remained stable at 14.1 (14.1)% amid a 2.7% growth in the market. The Volkswagen Group’s share of this customer segment decreased to 44.7 (47.1)%. Outside Germany, we recorded growth in the Group’s share of registrations by fleet customers in Europe to 25.2 (24.5)%. Overall, the Volkswagen Group’s share in Europe remained constant at 28.9 (28.9)%. This shows that fleet customers still have considerable confidence in the Group.

After Sales and Service

In addition to individual service, the timely provision of genuine parts is essential in ensuring passenger car customer satisfaction in After Sales. The genuine parts supplied by our passenger cars brands and the expertise of the service centers represent the highest level of quality and ensure the safety and value retention of our customers’ vehicles. With our global after-sales network including more than 120 of our own warehouses, we ensure that almost all our authorized service facilities around the world can be supplied 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, we 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.

Around the world, our commercial vehicles business also prides itself on products of the highest quality and on customer focus. Our range of trucks, buses and engines is complemented by services that guarantee fuel efficiency, reliability and good vehicle availability. The workshop service and service contracts 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 reducing vehicles’ total operating costs and helping them retain their value.

In the Power Engineering segment, we help our customers ensure the availability of machinery with MAN PrimeServ. The global network of more than 100 PrimeServ locations guarantees excellent customer focus and offers, among other things, replacement parts of genuine parts quality, qualified technical service and long-term maintenance contracts.