The Volkswagen Group’s unique portfolio of products is made up of ten successful brands that excite millions of customers worldwide. In the past year, we have systematically reinforced the distinct and individual image of each brand and optimized their market positioning.
Brand diversity in the Volkswagen Group
“Volkswagen – Das Auto”. This slogan unites the three core messages that distinguish the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand: “innovative”, “providing enduring value” and “responsible”. For customers worldwide, the brand is an expression of quality, reliability and German engineering skill. This brand profile and the trust associated with it that customers place in us are the reason the Volkswagen brand is the first choice for millions of customers when purchasing a car. Today and in the future, global brand management focuses on the wishes and preferences of customers. Volkswagen enjoys a decisive competitive advantage through innovation that is driven by needs while remaining affordable. This plays a significant role in reaching our medium to long-term goal of becoming the most innovative volume manufacturer with the best quality in each class.
In the premium segment, Audi has become one of the strongest car brands worldwide under the motif “Vorsprung durch Technik”. The brand aims to take over market leadership in this segment and relies heavily on its sporty, high quality and progressive image. The success of Audi’s four rings in all markets around the world, coupled with the numerous honors and awards conferred on Audi models, is impressive proof of the fact that Audi has evolved into a premium, high prestige brand. This success is primarily attributable to a consistent marketing strategy with 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 relies on delivering a strong value proposition and an attractive design, coupled with intelligent ideas for the use of space that are technically simple but offer refined and practical solutions. The high recognition for the brand concept is reflected in its numerous awards for ambitious, innovative and sophisticated vehicle design.
Models that regularly win awards for their outstanding design are representative of the SEAT brand image. By sharpening the brand profile and placing additional focus on the most important brand values of “dynamic”, “young” and “design-oriented”, SEAT is aiming for stronger growth, particularly in Europe. The new brand claim “Enjoyneering” suitably expresses the character of the brand as a passionate perfectionist and emotional technology leader.
Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini round off the brand diversity of the Volkswagen Group in a refined manner. They reside in the luxury vehicle segments and distinguish themselves by their exclusivity, power and elegance.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles stands for superior mobility with its three core values of reliability, economy and partnership. It offers a range of different transport solutions at the highest levels of engineering for different customer groups. The light commercial vehicles in the Caddy, Multivan/Transporter, Crafter and Amarok ranges are tailored to meet the individual transportation needs of customers in retail and craft businesses, as well as civil authorities and service providers. Family-friendly MPVs and leisure-oriented motor homes are valued by private customers as derivatives of our light commercial vehicles.
The success of the Swedish Scania brand is based on the core values of “customer first”, “respect for the individual” and “quality”. For over 100 years, the company has been manufacturing high-performance trucks and buses with highly innovative technology and offering customers efficient transport solutions in combination with a variety of service packages, including financial services.
The core values of the MAN brand are reliability, innovation, dynamic strength and openness. Reliability means fulfilling expectations and keeping promises. Innovation means creating new solutions through fresh, creative and expert thinking. Dynamic strength means recognizing potential and acting in a flexible, solution-oriented manner. And openness stands for close cooperation in the Group and the exchange of new ideas and information.
Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty
The satisfaction of our customers has the highest priority for us. That’s why our sales activities are always driven by the goal of increasing customer satisfaction. With this claim in mind, we once again implemented measures and introduced processes in 2011 that further increased the satisfaction of our vehicle buyers and customers in the after-sales area, as well as that of our dealership partners.
The individual brands of the Volkswagen Group regularly measure the satisfaction of their customers in their respective markets. Special survey techniques focus above all on product quality and service. From the results they gather, the brands derive measures to further increase customer satisfaction.
In terms of customer satisfaction with product quality, the Audi brand occupies a leading position in the core European markets in comparison to both other Group brands and its competition. However, the other brands in the Group also stand out with overall satisfaction scores just as high or higher than competing brands.
Our customers are loyal to our brands because they are satisfied with our products and services. The extent of customer loyalty in our brands is impressively illustrated in our loyalty figures: the Volkswagen Passenger Car brand, for example, has maintained a high level of customer loyalty in its core European market for several years in a row. The loyalty of ŠKODA customers has likewise kept that brand in the upper rankings in a competitive comparison for several years.
Structure of Group sales
The independence of our brands is backed by the Volkswagen Group’s multibrand structure. We reorganized the Board of Management Sales function with the aim of optimizing the Group’s cross-brand sales activities. This is a fundamental precondition for steadily increasing volume and market share, for lifting earnings contributions and sales efficiency, and for optimizing costs at the same time.
In 2011, we pressed forward with the integration of dealers into our IT system in order to leverage synergies and improve the exchange of information between them and with our wholesale operations. Our close working relationship with dealers and their profitability are a focus of our distribution network strategy. We direct our wholesale business in over 20 markets through companies belonging to the Group. This is supported by a new central department that directs the national sales companies. It is tasked with increasing the transparency of sales activities, improving cost management and integrating the activities of the brands more closely, in order to better leverage synergies. This enables us to transfer the best practice approaches of individual companies to the other wholesale companies quickly and efficiently. The central department will be instrumental in helping us achieve the goals laid down in the Group’s .
Sales capability in the Group was further expanded with the acquisition of the trading business of Porsche Holding Salzburg on March 1, 2011. As an international trading business, the company operates in twelve countries as a wholesaler and in 20 countries as a retailer. It is characterized by outstanding professionalism along with an impressive track record of earnings and growth. We plan to leverage these core competencies more intensively in the future with the goal of making our own trading activities more efficient and powerful, and maximizing synergies. It will also help us better integrate the needs of the dealers and our customers into our strategy and align our activities with them. Porsche Holding Salzburg also has outstanding IT capability in the area of trading. We intend to use this to advance the establishment of an integrated systems environment from the manufacturer through wholesalers down to retail dealers.
Fleet customer business further expanded
A characteristic of our relationships with fleet customers is their long duration. They are also stable in volatile business conditions. The Volkswagen Group further expanded its excellent market position in the fleet customer business in 2011.
Volkswagen has a broad customer base in the industrial fleet business in Germany and the rest of Europe. Our main advantage here is our extensive product portfolio, which can satisfy custom mobility needs from a single source.
Resale value safeguarded through efficient remarketing
Efficiently marketing relatively new used cars is an important component of the Volkswagen Group’s long-term growth strategy. Since the residual value of the vehicle is one of the most important criteria in a customer’s purchase decision, we direct our efforts at maintaining a high resale value. By offering market-standard used cars, combined with the performance promise included in the used car programs under our brands, we are able to keep residual values stable at a very high level. Regular surveys give us a picture of what customers look for when buying a used vehicle and what their requirements are. These help us to continuously optimize the vehicles and the used car programs. Under names such as “Das WeltAuto.” for Volkswagen Passenger Cars, “Audi Gebrauchtwagen :plus” (“Audi used cars :plus”), or “ SEAT Selection”, certain Group brands have begun to redesign their used car strategy so that their dealership business can be organized along standard lines. These programs provide the customer with a high level of assurance and quality through guaranteed services.
The development of the Group brands in growth markets is particularly important for our long term success. One focus of our remarketing strategy is on ecologically sustainable, low-cost mobility in these markets, and our used car programs contribute to this. In addition to the higher recognition value, these ensure in particular the same high level of performance worldwide.