The UK's 71 Volkswagen van centres are to begin offering fleet customers a new telematics service for £12.50 per month per vehicle as part of a new service offering to fleets this year.
The service is a partnership between Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle Finance and the RAC, providing real-time data and reporting through a customisable online portal usable on a desktop computer, tablet or smartphone. Data provided includes location tracking, driver performance figures, CO2
emissions, collision detection, fault alerts, odometer, service alerts and the VW Driveline concierge service. Should a fault be detected or the vehicle be in a collision the fleet manager will be alerted by a Driveline operator.
Kevin Rendell, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK head of service and parts, said: "Our telematics' system is a competitive solution which can help companies to reduce fuel costs, extend the life span of parts and compenents and optimise vehicle efficiency. It's been designed to offer the level of quality and technical innovation that our customers expect."
He also stressed the importance of SMEs to VW. "We want to grow our business with small and medium companies and this is one area in which we can support them." In 2014, SME business for VWCV grew 20% year-on-year.
The telematics service is available on a 36-month contract. The telematic dongle plugs into the diagnostic port and so can be transferred between vehicles and can also be used on non-VW vehicles.
Volkswagen has 71 van retail outlets and 24 authorised repairers.
The new service is part of a focus on improving the brand's service to fleet managers and comes on the back of a service promised launched in 2014.
Consultation with fleets led to '10 promises', a back-to-basics commitment, Rendell said, with such commitments as providing a like-for-like replacement when an under-warranty vehicle is off the road for more than two hours.
In quarter two, Volkswagen will also launch a "dedicated downtime service", to help its network push vehicles through the workshop, expediate parts, receive technical support and additional labour. "This is one of the big steps forward we will be taking this year," Rendell said.
In addition to this, another of the promises will see the fault diagnosis of a broken down vehicle recovered to a van centre completed within one working day.
"Fleet managers would say this isn't good enough - but within an hour, 30 minutes, now. Our network can, however, can achieve it in one working day. As we move through this year and beyond, we will bring it down to 12 hours, six hours."
Business development managers (BDM) have now been appointed at each van centre and there role is as much about generating aftersales business as it is sales, said Andrew Waite (pictured), head of sales. VWCV made the position mandatory for each centre at the beginning of 2014 and provides one-to-one coaching for each BDM.
"We made it clear to van centres the right way to talk to fleet customers was through a business manager - and to talk to them about sales and aftersales," he said.
"The sales process needed to evolve from sitting in a showroom waiting for someone to come in. The whole experience for our fleet and SME customers is about working with them on an on-going basis about their whole business, not just about buying vehicles We want them to establish a relationship and work with them on whatever their needs are."
2014 was a record year for VWCV with 45,222 units registered, up 12% year-on-year. This gave it a number two position, with a market share of 12.4% in the market behind Ford (25.4%) and ahead of Vauxhall (10.2%).
This attitude is important as 2015-2016 will be a busy period for product.
The all-new, fourth generation Caddy is being revealed this week. The new T6 Transporter is due to be revealed this spring, possibly at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and both vehicles are due on sale in Q4.
In 2016, Volkswagen will facelift the Amarok before completing the refresh of its LCV line-up with the new Crafter towards the end of the year.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles fleet telematics video