The satisfaction of our customers worldwide is crucially driven by the quality of our products and services. Customers are satisfied and loyal only when their expectations of a product or service are met or even exceeded. Reliability, appeal and service determine the quality perceived by the customer throughout the entire product experience. Our objective is to surprise and excite our customers in all these areas so that we can win them over with our outstanding quality. We continued to improve our high level of quality in 2013, thus contributing to growth and to increasing the value of the Volkswagen Group.
Our Quality Assurance consistently focuses on customer wishes and integrates them into product requirements. It ensures that Volkswagen, as the manufacturer, and its products comply with all the legal requirements, defines high quality targets and standards and supervises compliance with them. In addition, Quality Assurance also identifies the cause of any defects and manages the process for eliminating them.
Focus on customer wishes
The global growth of the Volkswagen Group poses additional challenges for Quality Assurance. New vehicle projects in the different regions throughout the world are subject to the widest variety of customer desires. In light of this, identifying specific regional factors and prioritizing them is an important task for Quality Assurance so that they can then be integrated into new products, but also so they can be reflected appropriately in the production of established vehicle models. Examples of important factors include the available fuel quality, road conditions, traffic density, country-specific usage patterns and not least local legislation. The Volkswagen Group’s strong growth outside of Europe means that the main focus of Quality Assurance is on conditions in the BRIC markets.
We mainly use studies and customer surveys to capture customer requirements in the different markets.
Product and supplier quality
In the reporting period, a large number of product start-ups and several new plants starting to operate again made high demands on Quality Assurance. We maintained the high quality of the previous year for the Group and continued to reduce the number of repairs. Our suppliers also made significant contributions to this. We expect sustainable practices from them as well as delivering the highest product quality and reliability of supply.
New vehicle projects entail innovative technologies that must be established in the markets without any problems. This is why Quality Assurance analyzes these projects long before customers experience a new product. The goal is to make products even better and more reliable, while successfully implementing all customer wishes in the new projects and continuing to factor in regional requirements and needs.
In 2013, we continued to standardize our defect elimination process and can now react even more quickly to vehicle problems and help our customers even faster. This both increases customer satisfaction and reduces warranty and ex gratia repair costs for Volkswagen.
The Service area is also focused on improving the quality of its offerings worldwide. In 2013, we therefore optimized the warranty and ex gratia repair instruments. As the direct interface with customers, the dealership operation offers other starting points: we can identify at an early stage any problems that may be revealed in the emotional moment of vehicle handover and correct them systematically.
We began recalibrating the processes at the interface between markets and dealers in 2012. We successfully continued this project in 2013 and positioned Technical Service even closer to the market, enabling us to recognize and prioritize market disruptions in good time. This is an important condition for being able to quickly start the process for eliminating defects and taking effective measures in services and product ranges so that customer satisfaction continues to grow.