Right from the product development stage, we aim to identify and rectify quality problems at the earliest possible point so as to prevent potential delays to the start of production. The increasing use of modular components means that, when vehicle defects occur, the cause of the defect must be identified and eliminated as quickly as possible. In the reporting period, we further optimized the process by which defects are rectified in the brands and improved its organization so as to counter the related risks.
Growing production volumes, increasing complexity and the use of the Group’s toolkit system mean that the need for high-grade supplier components of impeccable quality is also rising. To ensure production and hence meet customer expectations, it is extremely important that our own plants and our suppliers deliver on time. The introduction of an internally-tested risk management system at suppliers is an important step towards ensuring long-term quality and supply capability early on in the supply chain. In this way, quality assurance helps to fulfill customer expectations and consequently boost our Company’s reputation, sales figures and earnings.
Sustained high demand in the Volkswagen Group’s key markets also presents particular challenges for quality assurance. Quality assurance is of fundamental importance especially in the growing automotive markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China, for which dedicated vehicles are developed and where local manufacturing operations and suppliers have been established. We analyze the conditions specific to each market and thus ensure growth in these regions. In cooperation with the central quality assurance function, we continuously develop effective measures to counter identified local risks and then implement those measures locally, minimizing quality defects from the outset.
Vehicle registration and operation criteria are set and monitored by national and, in some cases, international authorities. Some countries also have special, and in some cases new, rules aimed at protecting customers in their dealings with vehicle manufacturers. Therefore, we systematically ensure that the Volkswagen Group brands and their products fulfill all applicable requirements and the local authorities receive timely notification of all issues required to be reported. By doing so, we reduce the risk of customer complaints, administrative fines and other negative consequences for Volkswagen.