The Volkswagen Group has a unique product portfolio: it is made up of twelve successful brands that excite millions of customers worldwide year in and year out. In 2012, 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: innovative, offering enduring value and responsible. Customers worldwide associate quality, reliability and German engineering skill with Volkswagen Passenger Cars. This brand profile, which creates trust in our customers, is the reason the Volkswagen brand is the first choice for millions of customers when buying a car. 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 sporty, high-quality and progressive image. The numerous honors and awards that Audi models receive every year, coupled with the success of Audi’s four rings in all markets around the world, are impressive proof of the fact that Audi has evolved into a premium, high-prestige brand. This success is based on the brand 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 dominated by a compelling value proposition and an attractive design, coupled with intelligent ideas for the use of space that are technically simple but offer refined and practical details. The numerous awards for its ambitious, innovative and sophisticated vehicle design are proof of the high recognition for this brand concept.
Models that regularly win awards for their outstanding design are representative of Spanish SEAT brand’s image. SEAT is aiming for stronger growth, particularly in Europe, by sharpening its brand profile and focusing on its distinctive brand values of being dynamic, young and design-oriented. The new brand claim “Enjoyneering” suitably expresses the character of the brand as a passionate perfectionist and emotional technology leader.
Sports car manufacturer Porsche has captivated car fans around the world for decades. The fact that more than 70% of all Porsche vehicles that have ever been produced are still on the roads in many countries worldwide is thanks to the brand’s high quality standards. The sports car manufacturer’s brand values are characterized by opposites: exclusivity and acceptance, tradition and innovation, performance and suitability for daily use, design and functionality. Porsche’s motto is “to achieve maximum output from minimum input”.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles stands for superior mobility with its three core values of reliability, economy and partnership. The brand offers a range of different transport solutions at the highest levels of engineering for different customer groups. The light commercial vehicles in the Caddy, Saveiro, 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. Private customers value family-friendly MPVs and leisure-oriented motor homes as derivatives of our light commercial vehicles.
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 brand diversity of the Volkswagen Group in the passenger cars segment.
Swedish Scania brand follows the core values of “customer first”, “respect for the individual” and “quality”. For over 100 years, this successful company has been manufacturing high-performance trucks and buses featuring extremely innovative technology. 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. These values are key success factors for MAN, one of the leading European manufacturers of commercial vehicles, engines and mechanical engineering equipment. The company manufactures diesel engines, turbomachinery and special gear units, alongside trucks and buses.
Ducati is one of the most famous manufacturers of premium motorcycles. Its products, with the highest level of quality craftsmanship, uncompromising performance and challenging dynamics, thrill the customers of the Italian brand. Italian style is reflected in the lines of all the brand’s motorcycles.
Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty
Our sales activities are always oriented on making our customers more satisfied – this is the top priority for us. We again increased the satisfaction of our vehicle buyers, customers in the after-sales area and that of our dealership partners in 2012 by deploying the measures and processes introduced in fiscal year 2011.
The Group brands regularly measure the satisfaction of their customers. The main focus is on product quality and service. Based on the survey results, they derive measures to further increase customer satisfaction.
Measured by overall customer satisfaction with products, the Audi and Porsche brands occupy leading positions in the core European markets in comparison to both other Group brands and their competitors. The other brands in the Group score just as high as or higher than competing brands.
Customer satisfaction is a precondition for customer loyalty. If our customers are satisfied with our products and services, then they are loyal to our brands and trust them. The extent of this trust is impressively illustrated by our loyalty figures, which are measured 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 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. Nevertheless, we do focus on cross-brand sales activities in order to increase sales volumes and market share, lift earnings contributions and sales efficiency, and decrease costs at the same time.
In 2012, we integrated dealers more tightly into the Group’s IT systems environment; this is part of our distribution network strategy and serves to optimize the exchange of information between dealers themselves and between them and our wholesale operations. Our close working relationship with dealers and their profitability are a key focus. We manage our wholesale business in over 20 markets through companies belonging to the Group. A central department that manages these national sales companies makes sales activities more transparent and more profitable, creating synergies between the different brands and their activities. This enables us to transfer the best practice approaches of individual companies to the other wholesale companies quickly and efficiently. The central department is instrumental in helping us achieve the goals laid down in the Group’s Strategy 2018.
Following our acquisition of the trading business of Porsche Holding Salzburg on March 1, 2011, we pushed ahead with the integration of this company in 2012 and reorganized tasks in the Volkswagen Group so as to be able to take full advantage of its specific skills. We have combined the majority of the Group’s own trading activities under the management responsibility Porsche Holding Salzburg so as to make them even more efficient and powerful. Porsche Holding Salzburg is a key element in assuming the role of importer in emerging markets, for example in South America.
Fleet customer business further expanded
A characteristic of our relationships with fleet customers is their long duration. This customer group guarantees more stable vehicle sales than private customers in volatile conditions. The Volkswagen Group further expanded its well established position in Europe in the fleet customer business in 2012.
The Volkswagen Group has a broad business fleet customer base in Germany and the rest of Europe. Our extensive product offering enables us to satisfy custom mobility needs from a single source.
Remarketing: efficient management of used cars and attractive residual values
As part of its Strategy 2018, the Volkswagen Group is focused on providing professional management for used cars. The used car business mainly supports the new car business for the long term with a view to increasing sales volumes and profitability. The focus is on ensuring more stable residual values for vehicles that are superior to those of the competition.
We further increased the success of the independent used car brands such as “Das WeltAuto.” or “Audi Gebrauchtwagen :plus” (“Audi used cars :plus”) in fiscal year 2012. The brands set themselves a particular focus in the past year of showcasing their reliability and trustworthiness, building an emotional attachment for customers and thus creating a unique, positive brand experience. Our used car programs increase the recognition value of the individual brands and ensure the same high level of performance worldwide, efficient processes and transparent management in the used car business.
We take advantage of the unique brand diversity, pooling expertise within the Group and further expanding our market position by implementing overarching projects across the organization. In line with our objective of developing sustainable, customer-oriented services, we also conduct surveys on customer behavior and needs.
In order to manage the growing complexity of the used car business and to be able to react flexibly to new market developments, we introduced standardized and harmonized IT systems and processes for the used car business in 2012.
The development of the used car brands in growth markets remains a key factor in our long term success.