VW van dealers need to get into their communities and target businesses that rely on their commercial vehicle.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) believes its strategy of having a separate van dealer network and dedicated sales staff is working because it gives customers a better service.
Simon Elliott, VWCV managing director, said almost half his 64 dealers are at a different location to the car dealership while most of the rest have separate buildings.
“This gives a higher level of focus and expertise with bespoke staff,” he said.
“Our staff are only interested in commercial vehicles – it’s focus, focus, focus.”
The company is looking to maintain its market share of 9% this year, but predicts the market will fall by around 23%, reducing its registrations from 26,000 units to just over 20,000.
“We wont slaughter residual values just because we have set out a goal of certain volume and we won’t get into the gutter with the marketing approach of some of our rivals,” said Elliott
“But we are well placed to grow because we have managed our brand and our residuals.”
He claimed VWCV has a positive order bank of several thousand vehicles but is urging dealers to get out into their local communities and fight for fleet business.
“Our roots need to go deep into local fleet, rental, business users and used vans,” said Elliott.
“We have to go to local small business users where the van is their livelihood.
"They are not looking for cheap; they want something that gives value in the future. We have to give them a reason to buy Volkswagen and not focus on offering money off the bonnet.
“Our biggest wins will be contract hire and leasing due to our residual values and fuel efficiency – our whole life costs are very positive.
"Our rental business will be stable.”
Vans are typically kept on two or three-year leases depending on mileage.
VWCV offers a two-year/100,000-mile warranty which can be extended.
But industry research shows that the warranty isn’t a major buying priority.
“Our customers want reliability, future value and economy,” Elliott said.
He is investing more money into VWCV’s used van programme to better manage buy backs and ensure a robust remarketing process.
It should further improve residual values.
VWCV will launch the Ecofuel range in April/May starting with the Caddy, and it will announce a new model later this year due for launch in 2010.