Volkswagen is working towards a ‘digital ecosystem’ where consumers will have a single access point for the entirety of its future products and services.
And the brand hinted that its dealers will be providing a broader range of added value services in the next decade which customers can choose to suit their lifestyle and vehicle usage.
However, for the first time its dealer contracts now give it the opportunity to make direct contact with customers throughout the vehicle's lifetime.
“The OEM, our partners and our dealers are going to establish a network of knowledge around the customer, to service the customer, provide new information to the customer.” said Jürgen Stackmann, member of the board of management Volkswagen Passenger Cars for business units sales, marketing and aftersales.
The vehicle identity will be complemented by the customer identity, so there is one identity for the entire system and experience, he said, and Volkswagen will still have the preferred dealer to support this. “We believe we need a face in the market, a physical touchpoint, someone who takes care of the customer,” he said.
"Combined with the individual vehicle ID and the individual dealer ID, this creates a triangle for future customer contacts and customer relations, and brings the prospect of 100% personalised offerings."
“Volkswagen cars are going to turn into devices on wheels, become part of the web, part of the ecosystem from our perspective and most importantly from the customers’ perspective. Without the customer accepting that ecosystem, all this is not going to happen, and we’re now connected with our customers on a daily basis.”
Stackmann said for a fluid, smooth experience for consumers the distribution system needs to be questioned and reconfigured, to “dovetail” the OEM, partners and dealers in the online and offline worlds and arrange them around the customer.
Stackmann said the company needs to discover “new value chains” as service requirements reduce with electric mobility and new web platforms enter the field. Volkswagen will build a new “circle of services” around its core manufacturing business.
These will be in four segments under a ‘Volkswagen We’ brand: in-car such as software updates, around the car such as finding parking spaces or having packages delivered to the car, charging services to support e-mobility, and services not connected to ownership, such as car sharing.