Sales and Marketing
The Volkswagen Group’s unique product portfolio comprises twelve successful brands that excite millions of customers worldwide, year in and year out. In 2013, we systematically reinforced the distinct and individual image of each brand and optimized their market positioning.
Brand diversity in the Volkswagen Group
The “Volkswagen – Das Auto.” slogan unites the three core messages that distinguish the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand: its products are innovative, offer enduring value and are responsible. Customers worldwide associate quality, reliability and German engineering skill with Volkswagen Passenger Cars. Global brand management focuses on the wishes and preferences of customers, today and in the future. They are the starting point for developing innovations that are driven by demand while remaining affordable. This is our competitive advantage: based on this, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand aims to become the most innovative volume manufacturer with the best quality in each class in the medium to long term.
In the premium segment, Audi has become one of the strongest car brands worldwide under the slogan of “Vorsprung durch Technik”. Its objective is to become the market leader in this segment. To do this, the Audi brand relies heavily on its progressive, high-quality and sporty image. The numerous honors and awards it has received attest to the brand’s strategy of innovative engineering solutions and an emotional design language.
With its “Simply Clever” slogan, ŠKODA has become one of the fastest emerging brands, particularly in Europe and China. The brand image is defined by a compelling value proposition and an attractive design, coupled with intelligent ideas for the use of space that are technically simple but offer sophisticated, practical details.
The Spanish SEAT brand is aiming for stronger growth, particularly in Europe, by sharpening its brand profile and focusing on its distinctive brand values: it is dynamic, young and design- oriented. The brand claim – “Enjoyneering” – characterizes the brand’s passionate perfectionism and emotional technology leadership.
Sports car manufacturer Porsche’s brand values are a combination of opposites: exclusivity and acceptance, tradition and innovation, performance and suitability for daily use, design and functionality. Porsche’s philosophy is “to achieve maximum output from minimum input” while adhering to high quality standards.
Exclusivity, power and elegance – these are the qualities demonstrated by our Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini brands in the luxury vehicle segments. They round off the Volkswagen Group’s brand diversity in the passenger cars segment.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles stands for superior mobility with its three core values – reliability, economy and partnership. The brand offers a range of different transportation solutions at the highest levels of engineering for different customer groups. The vehicles are tailored to meet the individual transportation needs of customers in retail and craft businesses, as well as civil authorities and service providers. Private customers value the brand’s family-friendly MPVs and recreational motor homes.
The Swedish Scania brand follows the core values of “customer first”, “respect for the individual” and “quality”. This successful company has been manufacturing high-performance trucks and buses featuring extremely innovative technology for over 100 years. The brand offers its customers efficient transport solutions backed by service offerings and financial services.
The core values of the MAN brand are reliability, innovation, dynamic strength and openness. At the same time, these values are key success factors for MAN, one of the leading European manufacturers of commercial vehicles, engines and mechanical engineering equipment. As well as trucks and buses, the company manufactures diesel engines, turbomachinery, turnkey power plants and special gear units.
Ducati is one of the most famous manufacturers of premium motorcycles. Its emotionally charged products thrill the Italian brand’s customers with their premium quality craftsmanship, uncompromising performance and challenging dynamics.
“Think Blue.” is the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand’s ecological sustainability policy. It is Volkswagen’s answer to, among other things, the question of how individual mobility can be reconciled with sustainable practices. “Think Blue.” is contributing to the Volkswagen Group’s objective of being the most sustainable automobile manufacturer in the world by 2018.
In addition to the international “Think Blue. Factory.” program, which aims to conserve resources and lower emissions in the vehicle and components plants, another example of the “Think Blue.” range of activities is an initiative at Volkswagen dealers in Germany. Starting in 2014, all partner operations will be provided with advice on eco-efficiency that will suggest concrete measures for running an environmentally friendly dealership.
The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand was also a partner of the 2013 One Young World Summit in Johannesburg. Around 1,300 young people from 190 countries discussed topics such as sustainable development with experts and celebrities. Twenty-five young international Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand employees provided information on “Think Blue.” at the summit, participating in discussions so as to identify trends and challenges for the Company to address.
Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty
The Volkswagen Group’s sales activities focus consistently on making our customers satisfied customers – this is the top priority for us. We further increased the satisfaction of our vehicle buyers, after-sales customers and dealership partners with the measures and process improvements we implemented in 2013.
The Group brands regularly measure the satisfaction of their customers, focusing on products and services and derive measures from the survey results to improve customer satisfaction even further.
Measured in terms of customer satisfaction with their products, the Audi and Porsche brands are among the leaders in the core European markets in comparison to other Group brands and their competitors. The other brands in the Group also score higher than competing brands.
Customers are loyal to our brands and trust them when they are satisfied with our products and services. The extent of this trust is impressively illustrated by our loyalty figures, which we measure on a regular basis. The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, for example, has maintained a high level of customer loyalty in its core European markets for several years in a row. The loyalty of Audi, Porsche and ŠKODA customers has likewise kept these brands in the upper rankings in a competitive comparison for a number of years.
Structure of Group sales
The Volkswagen Group’s multibrand structure helps promote the independence of our brands. Nevertheless, we use cross-brand sales activities to increase sales volumes and market share and increase sales efficiency, while cutting costs and lifting earnings contributions.
In the reporting period, we strengthened dealer profitability in particular. This was achieved firstly with cost-cutting programs and secondly by expanding the business volume for each dealer. Our distribution network strategy, which calls for us to work with strong partners and leverage all business fields, as well as the difficult economic situation in some countries led to the distribution network being restructured. The focus is on a close working relationship with dealers and their profitability. We use Group companies to manage our wholesale business in over 20 markets. A central department makes sales activities more transparent and more profitable, as well as creating synergies between the different brands. Wholesale companies can learn quickly and efficiently from the best practices adopted by individual firms. The central department is instrumental in helping us achieve the goals laid down in the Group’s Strategy 2018.
Following the integration of Porsche Holding Salzburg, we reorganized trading activities in the Volkswagen Group so as to be able to take full advantage of this company’s specific skills. The majority of the Group’s proprietary trading activities are now
managed by Porsche Holding Salzburg. The company is a key element for strengthening our position in the emerging markets; for example, it took over the function of importer in Chile in March 2013. We also systematically and rapidly expanded their presence in China in the reporting period.
Fleet customer business further expanded
Our relationships with fleet customers are often of a long-term nature. This customer group guarantees more stable vehicle sales than in the private customer segment in a volatile environment. The Volkswagen Group has an established base of business fleet customers in Germany and the rest of Europe in particular. Our extensive product offering enables us to satisfy custom mobility needs from a single source. This allowed us to largely defend our well established position in Europe in 2013.
The e-mobility challenge for Group sales
The Volkswagen Group’s e-mobility strategy covers the development of customer-centric products and business models to complement its range of electric vehicles.
In the reporting period, we entered into partnerships with green energy utilities such as “LichtBlick” and installation service providers for the charging infrastructure, including Bosch. These partners will help us provide our customers with comprehensive vehicle-related offerings. When selecting products and partners, we took great care to preserve the identities of our brands while, at the same time, generating maximum synergies for the Group.
We also provided additional sales and after-sales services to our electric vehicle customers.
Used car business
The used car business is the fourth key source of income in our dealer organization after the new car, services and parts businesses. We ensure its profitability by providing efficient processes and systems, highly qualified employees as well as clear guidelines and management tools.
We focus on professional used cars management at both the wholesale and retail levels. Customer-driven financial services lay the foundation for attractive product packages. In addition, our proprietary used car brands were further strengthened and rolled out internationally so as to ensure customer offerings also meet their needs. Cross-brand activities implement examples of best practice throughout the Group, ensuring economies of scale and leveraging synergies.
We established and standardized processes for used cars at all distribution levels, enhanced and increasingly harmonized the underlying IT infrastructure and introduced uniform management performance indicators.
To achieve long-term success in our used car business, we attach considerable importance to stable residual values – in the interest of our customers as well – and have set up system-based reporting functions for this purpose.