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Volkswagen plans more 'direct contact with customers'

Dr Herbert Diess, chief executive of the Volkswagen brand

Volkswagen has revealed plans to expand its "direct contact with customers" as part of a strategy which will drive greater efficiencies and further digitalisation of the brand.

In an update on its Transform 2025+ plan the brand outlined some of the thinking behind its Future Sales Model and revealed that the plan “defines cooperation with dealers throughout the world”, adding that it would lay the organizational foundation for the mobility services of the future.

Volkswagen said that it expected 2017 return on sales to be above the anticipated 2.5% to 3.5% target and set a goal of reaching 4% to 5% by 2020.

An SUV-led brand offensive, job cuts with its factories and the recruitment of digital-led apprentices to help deliver its online and mobility ambitions.

Dr Herbert Diess, chief executive of the Volkswagen brand, said: "We have initiated the fundamental realignment of the brand with our strategy.

“This is the milestone plan which Volkswagen will use to steer through the extremely demanding phase in our industry which is ahead of us.

“Our goal is to make Volkswagen the world's leading volume manufacturer and to ensure that we make optimum preparations for the future of the automobile.”

In-all, Volkswagen said that it would create 9,000 new jobs in future-oriented areas to push forward its digitalization and e-mobility plans with the provision of a comprehensive training program to prepare the workforce for “the upcoming challenges”.

A change in the brand’s approach to customers and its dealer strategy was mentioned in the brand’s statement.

It said: “Volkswagen is also expanding the direct contact with customers which is necessary for a continuous digital customer experience.

“The Future Sales Model defines cooperation with dealers throughout the world and lays the organizational foundation for the mobility services of the future.”

Volkswagen recently reached a milestone in the digitalization of the brand in Germany with the launch of a new customer portal "Volkswagen We".

The platform allows customers to book servicing appointments directly using a smart phone for the first time.

It also gives Volkswagen the possibility of maintaining continuous direct contact with customers and offering them “personalized content and convenient services”, the statement revealed.

Elsewhere the brand is working hard to deliver its goal of achieving efficiency improvements with the aim of saving €3.7 billion (£3.2 billion) per year by 2020, including €3 billion (£2.6 billion) in Germany.

The statement said that, since the pact was launched a year ago, improvements totalling €1.9 billion had been achieved.

It said that the plan provides for the “socially compatible loss of 23,000 jobs by 2020 in Germany”.

In 2017, 3,800 jobs have been cut to date, 2,000 of which have “been compensated for by expected recruitment of apprentices upon the completion of their training and approved structural changes”, it said. 

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