Volkswagen’s network has stepped up to the mark for aftersales with huge success over the last three years.
UK director Chris Craft is proud of the improvements made in customer retention for service and repair, thanks to initiatives such as service plan sales, health checks and transparent fixed-price servicing and MoTs to entice back owners of older models.
“The industry generally has been under pressure on recovery rates and we’ve seen that in our business too," he said.
That’s why the action we’ve taken to improve loyalty and recover business lost is so important.
The network has averaged a 2% return on sales for the last two years and dealers are upbeat about the opportunities to come.
The product offensive continues with new Passat, revised Eos, revised Tiguan and new Golf Cabriolet this year, followed by the new Beetle and Up city car in 2012.
New Beetle is expected to appeal to more men than the current model, which tends to be favoured by women buyers.
Up, which replaces the Fox, will encourage buyers to personalise their car to their lifestyle.
The challenge will be for Volkswagen UK and its network to live up to the quality expected of the brand.
“Some people don’t go away happy and we need to work on getting it right every time and giving the right experience.
"We have retailers that do an absolutely brilliant job. We need all our retailers to be doing that,” he said.
Some of the inconsistency is blamed on the departmental structure within dealers.
For the past 15 months VW has held workshops for dealers on a multi-departmental basis, bringing together managers from sales, aftersales, fleet operations and brand heads to better understand how the departments can help each other.
“The changes are often relatively simple and basic, like the resources they have in the business being deployed in a more intelligent way.”
Last year Volkswagen ranked 11th in the UK’s annual JD Power owner satisfaction survey.
That compares with 16th place in 2005.
Craft is pleased with the improvement, but believes there is still some way to go. Volkswagen still sits beneath group brands Skoda and Audi plus Japanese rivals Honda and Toyota in the chart.