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Image: Volkswagen

Volkswagen has outlined its plan to restructure and digitalize its sales model. From spring 2020, it intends to expand its online business, including direct online sales, and to target customers via some different sales locations. Underpinning this will be a system of unique Volkswagen customer IDs, enabling more precise targeting of products and services to individuals – and the firm aims to gain five million new customers worldwide for its mobility services each year. A joint platform is being developed in a digital partnership with dealers to handle each aspect of a purchase from start to finish, including financing, payment and vehicle trade-ins.

Introducing the new sales model will coincide with the launch of the I.D. range of electric vehicles. I.D. buyers will receive individual support, over-the-air software updates, predictive maintenance alerts and notifications, and access to services such as We Park, We Deliver, We Connect and the planned We Share car-sharing program. “We will learn more about our customers’ needs and will be able to develop optimum tailor-made offerings for each individual customer through intelligent data management. This is already practiced successfully in other sectors,” said board member for sales Jürgen Stackmann, speaking at an event with the European Dealer Council in Berlin.

Dealers will continue to operate conventional facilities for face-to-face sales – although it is expected that the number of traditional full-feature showrooms with sales and service facilities will be reduced in favour of the new formats such as pop-up stores, city showrooms, and dedicated service factories and used car centers. “This is the right step at the right time,” said Stackmann. “We have adopted this approach because our business environment is changing at a breathtaking pace in view of new technologies, changed customer expectations and new market players.”

-Farah Alkhalisi