Volkswagen is tasking its van sales network to increase its share of the UK market by 50%.
Under a programme just announced, the German group wants to link new product launches with major improvements across key areas of showroom operations to achieve the dramatic growth over the next five years.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles managing director Simon Elliott said: “We have a vision to be the most valued van brand in the eyes of our customers, our van centres and the factory. I want to achieve a 15% market share as a result of improvements that relate to service, opening hours, return on sales and profit.
“Our new T5 Transporter range has already won a strong reception and our new pick-up truck and Caddy models will also make major contributions to the sustained growth we’re looking for in the five year plan.”
The move was revealed after sales in March matched the total of registrations achieved during the first quarter of last year to lift market share from eight per cent to 10%.
After opening a new centre in Leicester, Elliott told AM: “We were second only to Ford in the second half of last year. Our centres are putting in a fantastic performance and we are doing exceptionally well to be 42 per cent ahead in a market up by 14% so far this year.
“But I hope our competitors will realise that it is possible to be successful without distressing the brand or the product."
VWCV has been encouraging its dealers to operate standalone van showrooms instead of having vans share the same showroom as the VW car franchise. More than three quarters now do so. Elliott believes this helps keep their focus on the CV business.
Profitability has improved since last year. “Our average return on sales is one per cent. We’re in a healthy position and dealers have smashed their targets.
Now they’re asking for targets to be revised upwards so they can guarantee more stock through the year,” he said.
Open points at Stoke-on-Trent and Liverpool are due to be filled in the next few months.