The satisfaction of our customers worldwide is determined to a significant extent by the quality of our products and services. We maintained our high level of quality in 2012 as well, thus contributing to growth and to increasing the value of the Volkswagen Group.
Volkswagen’s Quality Assurance applies preventive strategies not only to process stability and product reliability, but also to ensure customer satisfaction in particular. There are three main factors here: vehicle concepts that are consistently focused on customer wishes, well-structured production processes that ensure flawless delivery quality, as well as excellence, during vehicle handover and the subsequent service provided by the dealer.
Focus on customer wishes
Quality Assurance allows us to cater to the wishes of our customers all over the world by ensuring that particular regional features are identified, prioritized and then appropriately factored into the design of new products as well as in the production of established vehicle models. Examples of these include the available fuel quality, road conditions, traffic density, country-specific usage patterns as well as local legislation. Volkswagen’s strong growth outside of Europe, in particular in the BRIC countries, means that the main focus of Quality Assurance is on conditions in these markets.
We mainly use studies and customer surveys to capture customer requirements in the different markets. Our primary focus in 2012 was to refine the cross-business area program for raising customer satisfaction. One of its goals is to more strongly incorporate insights from product usage into the design of future products.
Product and supplier quality
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 outstanding quality.
In the reporting period, several new facilities went into operation, numerous product start-ups happened and we used the Modular Transverse Toolkit (MQB) for the first time. Despite these challenging conditions, we maintained the high quality of the previous year for all Group brands and locations, and kept the number of repairs at a consistently low level. Our suppliers also made significant contributions to this. We expect sustainable practices in addition to the highest product quality and reliability of supply from them.
In 2012, we continued to standardize our defect elimination process so that we can react even more quickly in the future to vehicle problems and help our customers even faster. Eliminating defects quickly pays off for the Volkswagen Group both by increasing customer satisfaction and reducing warranty and ex gratia repair costs.
Our goal is to improve global service quality and thus increase customer satisfaction in the area of service. As the direct interface with the customer, the starting point in customer satisfaction is the dealership operation, as is the after-sales business. Through our close cooperation with the dealers, we can identify at an early stage any defects that may be revealed in the emotional moment of vehicle handover and correct them systematically.
In 2012, we continued to refine the processes at the interface between markets and dealers. To accomplish this, Technical Service, previously a part of Quality Assurance, was integrated into the after-sales business. The greater closeness to the market helps the Technical Service to recognize vehicle problems at an even earlier stage, prioritize them, take countermeasures and evaluate their effectiveness. Quality Assurance and Technical Service continue to work together closely in the new structure.