The manufacturer will sell 107,000 cars to fleets this year and is targeting a 10% market share (110,000 units) 2007.
To qualify to sell cars through Volkswagen’s direct sales channel Agency, VW retailers will have to meet new standards on staff, operating procedures and business planning.
Those standards include: operating standards, including lead follow up and test drive requirements; a bigger demonstrator fleet, where models will be held by certain Agency dealers for use by the rest of the network and which means that fleets can access specific models for test; and investment in delivering improved customer service.
Retailer-based fleet specialists are rewarded for reaching the required standards through the Fundamentally Fleet programme, launched in 2005.
Vince Kinner, head of fleet services at Volkswagen, says: “We’re aiming to build confidence to get the best possible levels of customer service. We are really serious about Agency so our retailers need to be committed to fleet.”
Volkswagen will invest an additional £10m in its retailer network to facilitate the plan. Dealers’ basic commission rates will be lower, while front-end discounts will be higher. Retailers with dedicated fleet people will receive extra cash.
“Simplicity and consistency are what our customers regard most highly, which is why Agency sales are so important to them,” adds Kinner.
“We have invested heavily in this process and it is the cornerstone of our fleet approach. It allows vehicles to be funded with total security and more convenience for the leasing company and the customer.”
Agency sales account for half of Volkswagen’s fleet registrations. VW intends to increase this to 80% by the end of 2007. It hopes that all high volume customer accounts will be conducted through the Agency sales process.
Not only do Agency buyers benefit from a standard level of discount, a 2% uplift to 8%, but they can also be quoted a price immediately rather than collecting a number of quotes from across the manufacturer’s dealer network.
Quotes are also price protected for a 28-day period, which ultimately speeds up the process so that the rental period can start more quickly.