The Volkswagen Group’s unique portfolio is made up of nine successful brands that excite millions of customers around the globe. In 2010, we further sharpened the individual, distinctive image of each individual brand. We also reorganized the Sales Board of Management department and strengthened our commercial fleet customer business.
Brand diversity in the Volkswagen Group
“Innovative”, “providing enduring value” and “responsible” are the three core messages of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand combined in the slogan “Volkswagen – Das Auto”. Customers the world over associate this brand with quality, reliability and German engineering skills. This profile and the trust customers place in the brand mean it is the first choice for millions when buying a car. Global brand management activities currently revolve around customers’ wishes and preferences and will continue to do so in the future. Volkswagen’s range of affordable innovations that are oriented on customer requirements give us a critical competitive advantage. We have therefore set ourselves the goal of becoming the most innovative volume manufacturer with the best quality in each class in the medium to long term.
With its “Vorsprung durch Technik” claim and slogan, Audi has evolved into one of the strongest automotive brands in the premium segment. In its mission to become the market leader in this segment, the brand is continuing to rely on its image centered around sportiness, high quality and progressiveness. Pioneering technological solutions, emotional design and a consistent brand strategy have made Audi a premium brand with a high prestige value. The success of Audi’s four rings on all markets around the world coupled with the large number of prominent prizes and awards conferred on the Audi models each year attests to the brand’s ability to delight customers.
Škoda is one of the fastest emerging brands, particularly in Europe and China. Under the slogan “Simply clever”, the models in this brand are characterized by intelligent concepts for the use of space as well as refined and practical detailed solutions. The Škoda brand also embodies attractive designs and compelling value for money. The many awards for excellent, sophisticated and innovative design that the Czech company has received for its vehicles show that this brand concept is receiving widespread acclaim.
The SEAT brand has chosen the distinctive core values “sporty”, “young” and “design-oriented” as it gets back on track. Its models, which have regularly won awards for their outstanding, innovative design, are representative of the SEAT brand image.
Exclusivity, elegance and power are the attributes that distinguish our Bugatti, Bentley and Lamborghini brands in the luxury vehicle segments. They round off the wide range of Volkswagen Group brands.
With its diverse portfolio of light commercial vehicles, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles offers superior transport and mobility solutions at the highest technical level, primarily to business customers. The current Caddy, Multivan/Transporter, Crafter and Amarok ranges are tailored to meet the individual transportation requirements of retailers, authorities, service providers and craft industries. Private customers appreciate the family-friendly MPVs and the leisure-oriented motor homes as passenger-carrying derivatives of the light commercial vehicle ranges.
The core values of “customer first”, “respect for the individual” and “quality” take precedence at the Swedish brand Scania, which has been manufacturing high-performance trucks and buses that feature highly innovative technology for over 100 years. Scania provides its customers with efficient transport solutions in combination with a variety of service packages including financial services.
Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty
Against the background of growing customer demands, one of the areas on which our sales activities have focused – and will continue to focus – is on improving customer satisfaction. In 2010, we therefore specifically implemented processes and measures that further increased the satisfaction of our vehicle buyers and customers in the after-sales area, as well as that of our dealership partners.
Our Group brands regularly measure the satisfaction of their customers in the individual markets with the help of specialized questionnaires that concentrate primarily on product and service quality. The brands analyze the results and derive measures for progressively increasing customer satisfaction.
In terms of customer satisfaction with product quality, the Audi brand occupies a leading position in the core European markets, in comparison both with the Group brands and the company’s competitors. The Volkswagen Group’s other brands also score just as highly or even higher than competing brands for overall satisfaction.
Customers who are satisfied with the quality of our products and services are very likely to remain loyal to our brands. The loyalty figures, which are measured regularly, clearly reflect customers’ confidence in our brands: for example, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand has maintained customer loyalty at a high level in its European core markets for several years. Škoda also ranked among the leaders in terms of brand loyalty – as in previous years.
Structure of Group sales
The Volkswagen Group’s multibrand structure promotes the independence of our brands and was honed further in 2010. We reorganized the Board of Management Sales function in 2010 with the goal of optimizing the Group’s cross-brand sales activities. This enabled us to create ideal conditions for steadily increasing volume and market share and for lifting earnings contributions and sales efficiency while optimizing costs.
To leverage synergies and to optimize the exchange of information among dealers and with our wholesale operations, the integration of dealers into the Group’s IT system was driven forward in 2010. Our close working relationship with dealers and their profitability is a focus of our distribution network strategy. We handle 85% of our wholesale business through companies within the Group. In 2010, we strengthened this business by setting up a central department for the national sales companies that is tasked with increasing the transparency of sales activities, improving cost management and integrating the activities of the brands more closely for better use of synergies. This enables us to transfer the best practice approaches of individual companies to the other wholesale companies quickly and efficiently. The central department will be instrumental in helping us achieve the goals laid down in the Group .
Encouraging trend in the fleet customer business
Business relationships with fleet customers tend to be long-term relationships and more stable than relationships with private customers, for instance, even in volatile conditions. This was a business field in which the Volkswagen Group expanded its excellent market position in 2010.
In its business fleet customer activities, the Volkswagen Group has a strong customer base in Germany and the rest of Europe. The Group’s principal advantage is that its extensive product portfolio can satisfy customers’ individual mobility requirements in a one-stop service.
Resale value safeguarded through efficient remarketing
A key aspect of the Volkswagen Group’s long-term growth strategy is the efficient marketing of relatively new used cars. The resale value is a major factor influencing the competitiveness of our products, because the residual value of the vehicle is one of the most important criteria in the customer purchase decision. Likewise, a constant supply of marketable used cars supports stable residual values by controlling the flow of used cars into suitable sales channels.
On the basis of regular customer surveys, we analyze the needs of our customers when buying used vehicles and use the results to provide and refine customized products and services.
One of the main focuses of our remarketing strategy is on ecologically sustainable, low-cost mobility in growth markets, as these markets are crucial for our long-term success.